Shazyon Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Prince Andrew Clocked Up £378,000 - William Kate 52K Flight - The Queen is counting the cost of her globe-trotting family as spending on royal travel rose to £6.1million last year.
Among the biggest spenders was the Duke of York who – despite standing down as a controversial global trade ambassador – managed to rack up £378,249 on taxpayer-funded flights.
The newly-wed Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also make their first appearance in the books, spending £51,410 on a one-way flight from LA to London for themselves and seven staff.
The second most expensive trip of the year was taken by Prince Harry whose successful jubilee tour to Belize, the Bahamas, Jamaica and Brazil cost taxpayers £107,098 plus a further £18,101 on flights for staff conducting reconnaissance.
Andrew managed to spend £236,088 on foreign tours for UK Trade and Industry, even after stepping down as its Special Representative in July.
This includes £19,987 in October last year on scheduled flights to and from the Far East and a further £72,250 on a private jet for the same tour which took in China, Hong Kong and Malaysia – £92,237 in total.
He also spent £81,000 last September on a private jet to Saudi Arabia, a further £18,709 on scheduled flights to Singapore and £14,196 on tickets to Qatar and Abu Dhabi in November. Then there was £29,946 on scheduled flights to Thailand in February.
Royal aides stressed yesterday that the trips were already in the prince’s diary and that he was duty-bound to meet those commitments.
Details of the trips emerged in the annual Royal Public Finance Report, which lays bare how much the Queen gets from the public purse over the year 2011-2012 and how she spends it.
Official expenditure rose marginally to £32.3million – up £200,000 or 0.6 of a per cent.
But Buckingham Palace aides stressed that they had actually realised a 26 per cent reduction in spending over the last three years in real terms. They say the monarchy costs just 52p a head for every man, woman and child in the country – although this does not include the estimated £200million bill for security.
‘The Queen was very keen that the Royal Household should play its part in reducing expenditure and she is pleased that this has been achieved,’ said Sir Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse.
Sir Alan said they had cut their costs by freezing staff pay and generating more income by renting out royal property. But he also revealed they would need to eat into their savings by £3million to meet the cost of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
The report only details journeys by air or on the royal train costing £10,000 or over – 72 in all this year. Easily the most expensive trip of the year was Prince Charles’s tour of the Middle East and Africa last November with the Duchess of Cornwall. It cost £460,387 to hire the couple a jet.
The prince and his wife also spent £19,583 taking the Royal Flight down from Scotland, where they were on holiday, last August to visit some of London’s riot-hit streets.
Younger members of the Royal Family were also clocking up the air miles – although the publicity and goodwill generated by Prince Harry’s inaugural royal tour earlier this year is said by Foreign Office sources to be ‘incalculable’.
William and Kate are also likely to raise eyebrows over the bill for their first tour as a royal couple to Canada and the US last year, booking business class flights home from LA for themselves and seven staff costing £51,410.
William and Kate and their adviser, Sir David Manning, were then given a free upgrade to first class by British Airways.
A senior royal aide defended the costs saying that William, Kate and Harry in particular had shown enormous willingness to embrace ‘a different style of travel’ – for that read less expensive – to ‘older members of the Royal Family’.
Aides stressed all foreign trips were taken at the request of the Government and Foreign and Commonwealth Office and were rubber-stamped by the palace’s visits committee to ensure they were as cost effective as possible.
Anti-monarchist group Republic rejected palace claims of frugality and accused it of being ‘one of the most profligate institutions in the world’.