The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall spent £29,786 of taxpayers’ money chartering a flight for a four-day jolly during which no official business was undertaken, according to official figures released today. While other itineraries detailed in the grant-in-aid report list engagements, the return flight from Clarence House to Balmoral in June 2010 is itemised simply as “residence to residence”.
Given that the distance between the two residences is around 400 miles, the cost of the trip works out to almost £75 per mile. By way of comparison, the most expensive first class train ticket available for the same journey costs £431 per person while British Airways offers return flights to Aberdeen from £175.
The campaign group Republic has flagged up some of the other extravagances included in the report, which features an eight-page appendix devoted to “journeys costing £10,000 or more”:
- Charles’ chartered flight to a conference cost £25,534.
- The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s trip from London to Crewe cost £17,248.
- A visit to Wales by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh cost taxpayers £37,158.
- The Duke of York’s trip to Italy and Central Asia cost £121,810 and to the Middle East £88,612.
- The Duke of Kent charged the taxpayer £11,668 for a visit to Canada.
Debating the terms of a new Sovereign Grant last Thursday, Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg declared his support for the Queen’s lavish travel arrangements:
“When I see the coronation coach being pulled through the streets of London, I want to see it pulled by the finest horses money can buy. I want to see it gilded with the finest gold that can be bought.”
At these prices, we cannot help wondering whether Prince Charles’ chartered planes are gilded with gold too.