Charles and Camilla rack up most expensive royal tour of year

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The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall arrive at Owen Roberts International Airport in the Cayman Islands (PA)

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall took part in the most expensive royal foreign trip of the last financial year – costing the taxpayer more than £415,000.

Charles and Camilla flew on the official ministerial jet RAF Voyager to the Caribbean, at the request of the Government, and also made an historic visit to Cuba – a first by members of the royal family.

Figures from the royal accounts, released on Monday, revealed the island-hopping visit in March, which included stops in St Lucia, Grenada, Barbados and Havana among others, cost £416,576.

Royal tours
(PA Graphics)

The cost included journeys made by royal aides who helped to plan the visit.

The heir to the throne carried out the bulk of official overseas travel made by senior royals during the last financial year – reflecting his work supporting the Queen who has not taken a long-haul flight for a number of years.

Charles also travelled to West Africa, visiting the Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria last autumn by charter plane in a journey costing £216,000, which included staff planning trips, and to France and Greece, by RAF Voyager last May, for a trip priced at £159,800.

When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex flew to the South Pacific last autumn for a major tour of Commonwealth countries they travelled by charter plane for part of the itinerary, which cost £81,000 in total, including planning trips by royal aides.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in Fiji
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in Nadi, western Fiji (Chris Jackson/PA)

The Duke of Cambridge also used RAF Voyager and a helicopter for his trip to Jordan, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories last summer at a cost of £73,000, including separate flights taken by staff.

Meghan’s first joint royal engagement with the Queen saw the two royal women visit Cheshire last summer – by royal train and charter plane – for £29,700.

The overall cost of travel by members of the royal family in 2018-19 was down £100,000 to £4.6 million.

The royal train was used a number of times including a trip made by Charles who travelled from Aberdeen to London in September last year for a number of engagements in the capital, at a cost of just over £22,000.

Charles and Camilla also travelled between royal residences by charter plane, flying twice from RAF Northolt in west London to Aberdeen in Scotland at an average cost of more than £17,000.

The figures for royal travel, included in the annual royal accounts, do not give details for journeys costing less than £15,000.

But the documents reveal that 204 helicopter trips, costing less than the five-figure sum, were taken during the last financial year by members of the royal family, costing almost £690,000 in total.

There were 43 charter flights below the £15,000 threshold, that cost just under £370,000, scheduled flights cost almost £50,000 while scheduled rail journeys came to £80,265.

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