5 Most Expensive Funerals in World History

Most people try to limit their funeral costs as much as possible, so that they do not become a burden to their surviving relatives. However, for others, money is no object (either because they are wildly rich or their funeral bill is to be footed by the public), leading them to ditch the standard local Clearwater funeral programs in favor of extravagant funerals that cost more than many people earn in their whole lifetime. If you fit into this category, here is a list of the most expensive funerals of all time – these ideas should provide a model to help you plan your own obscenely expensive funeral procession.

Alexander the Great

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While it is commonly assumed that his title “The Great” came from his imperial achievements, Alexander may have received the nickname when people saw his funeral procession riding through. With a funeral that cost over $600 million in today’s money, Alexander certainly had the most expensive funeral of all time. His body was placed in a gold sarcophagus, which was placed inside of another gold coffin, and then transported in a gold carriage. Gold inside of gold, inside of even more gold! To top it off, a road had to be made from Babylon to Alexandria just to transport the body.

Ronald Reagan

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Nancy Reagan says goodbye to her husband one last time.

When the icon of low taxes departed, he left taxpayers with one final surprise – a $400 million funeral bill that they were awarded the opportunity of paying. The funeral was “$56,800-per-hour” to operate, so it may have cost at least $1 million just to transport the body. The federal holiday and closing down of Wall Street that accompanied the funeral bumped the price tag up to around $400 million. It has also been suggested that factoring in the price of the funeral itself, security, media attendance, etc. would increase the price into the billions range.

Princess Diana

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While not nearly as pricey as Ronald Reagan’s funeral, Princess Diana’s was no less impressive. It began with a four-mile procession from Westminster Abbey to Kensington Palace, where Elton John adapted a song he had originally written about Marilyn Monroe’s death. Approximately 2.5 billion people (or about half the people on Earth) watched the star-studded funeral on TV. All in all, the funeral cost $5 million GBP, but the number may actually be lower considering the fact that, within months, Elton John’s song became the best-selling song of all time and proceeds went to the charities with which Diana was involved.

Michael Jackson


Jackson’s funeral was in a similar vein to Princess Diana’s: star studded and broadcast on television, not nearly as strange as one would have expected from the eccentric singer. The funeral included eulogies and performances from a diverse cast of celebrities, ranging from Smokey Robinson to Kobe Bryant. The funeral weighed in at $1 million, decidedly low considering Jackson’s extravagant spending habits.

Elvis Presley

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Mr. Jackson’s ex-father-in-law and rock ‘n roll pioneer, Elvis Presley, not only boasts an impressive funeral, but his resting place in Graceland is the second most visited private home in the U.S. Though there are many Elvis fans that believe that the “King” still lives, it doesn’t take away the fact that a 900 lb. copper coffin and 17 white limousines is enough to make any royal jealous.

How are you going to go out? In a modest Clearwater crematory, or frozen in a cryogenic tank ($150,000)? There are plenty of Clearwater funeral homes to accommodate your remains when you are no longer among the living, but if you have $70,000 on hand, you may consider being mummified like an Egyptian pharaoh. Now that would be cool.

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Posted by on October 8, 2010. Filed under Entertainment, People. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.