Official figures released this week show that the Royal family spent more than £2.725 million (AU$4.9 million) on travel-related expenditure for the year ending 31 March 2019. According to the Sovereign Grant Report, there were over 3,200 official travel engagements undertaken in the UK and overseas by members of the Royal family during the 12-month period. Of that number, 34 journeys had travel costs of £15,000 (AU$27,000) or more, down from 38 the year prior.
The Prince of Wales, on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II, footed the largest share of the spend, and by a significant mark. Prince Charles, who was escorted by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall on most trips, travelled on official duties approximately 45 days in the year and amassed a £1.129 million (AU$2 million) expenditure. The heir apparent travelled either by charter flight or on the RAF Voyager for international tours, or on board the Royal Train domestically.
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to the Caribbean for 11 days in the second half of March 2019 had the biggest price-tag at £416,576 (AU$750,000). A trip to Ghana, Gambia and Nigeria in October/November cost £216,312 (AU$390,000) and a visit to Greece and France in May last year cost nearly £160,000 (AU$289,000).
By comparison, Her Majesty had just 8 official domestic travel engagements throughout the year – by Royal Train, charter flight or helicopter – that cost £118,000 (AU$213,000).
The charter trip to Australia, New Zealand, Tonga and Fiji by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Prince Harry and Meghan Markle) in October cost £81,000 and the visit to Jordan, Israel and Palestinian-occupied territories by the Duke of Cambridge (Prince William) in June cost £74,000.
Outside the trips costing £15,000 or more, the Royal family accumulated nearly £690,000 (AU$1.25 million) on 204 helicopter journeys, £370,000 on 43 charter flights, £50,000 on scheduled flights and £80,000 on scheduled rail services.
The Royal family’s travel costs for the tours include the costs associated for staff undertaking reconnaissance.