Harry and Meghan’s trip to Ibiza may have cost taxpayers between £50,000 and £100,000 for private jet travel, luxury villa accommodation and personal security detail – all of which may have been paid for by the taxpayer – but we may never know.
The royal couple were criticised online today for lack of transparency with taxpayers’ money, and their apparent hypocrisy on the subject of climate change, over their recent Mediterranean jaunt.
Local media has reported that, following Harry’s barefoot speech to the great and the good at Camp Google in Sicily, for which he reportedly stayed on he gas-guzzling Rising Sun superyacht moored off the island, he and Megan had a week’s holiday in Ibiza.
It is understood they and baby Archie arrived by private jet on Tuesday August 6 and departed on Monday of this week, also by private jet, after staying in a luxury villa guarded by British and Spanish state security personnel.
Harry Meghan and baby Archie are believed to have taken a taxpayer funded holiday in Ibiza but no details are being released or confirmed by the Palace
Meghan has fond memories of the island having visited with friends before meeting the Prince
But a spokesman for the royal family today refused to confirm:
- Where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are
- Whether they are in the country
- Where they have been, and whether they went to Ibiza
- With whom they stayed, and whether they were guests there
- How they travelled
- How much it cost, and who paid
- Whether Spanish security teams were seconded to a British protection detail
A spokesman said all of the above was a private matter and the palace would not comment – despite the Royal Family being funded by the taxpayer.
Piers Morgan shared an article about their trip and wrote: ‘Saving the planet, one private jet at a time.’.
A spokesman for Republic, which campaigns for the abolition of the monarchy, said: ‘Taxpayers have a right to know how much of our money is being wasted on the royals.
‘Every year they make excuses for their spending, but they never come clean on exactly what they cost us..
‘This has to stop, public money is there for hospitals and schools, not to feather the nests of the royal family.
‘Next time Meghan and Harry want a holiday abroad they can pay for it themselves. Or tell us exactly how much of our money they’re spending and why.’
Piers Morgan was among those who took to Twitter to criticise the couple’s apparent hypocrisy
A return flight from London to Ibiza by private jet can cost up to £40,000.
The best villas on the island cost up to 50,000 Euros a week to rent and can sleep 20 or so people in luxury and away from prying eyes.
And royal security officers earn in the region of £100,000 a year, meaning a week’s time for five British staff would have added £10,000 to the trip, excluding the cost of flying them there and back.
The Royal Family also frequently publishes details of the royals’ trips, and the costs of trips, between palaces despite no official engagement appearing in the court circular – ie, private trips.
Aerial view of Ibiza. It is understood Harry and Meghan were there from last Tuesday to this Monday and that the Sovereign Grant which comes from public money will have paid – but the palace refuses to say what happened or confirm any details
The Royals are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act introduced in 2000 to enable the press and the public better access to public bodies’ behaviour and expenditure.
Its website says: ‘The Royal Household is not a public authority within the meaning of the FOI Acts, and is therefore exempt from their provisions.
‘Despite its exemption from the FOI Acts, the Royal Household’s policy is to provide information as freely as possible in other areas.’
However even to submit an FOI request, journalists must send a letter in a stamped, addressed envelope to Buckingham Palace – there is no option to email.
A two-page summary of the royal accounts is published once a year, and a list of trips costing more than £15,000 is also published each June.
Last year’s includes many ‘residence to residence’ flights by private charter, including a £32,000 round trip for Charles and Camilla between Oxfordshire and Scotland.
Two off-peak open return tickets for a comparable journey by train would have cost less than £400.
In September’s edition of Vogue, guest edited by Meghan, Harry said the couple would only have two children for the sake of the environment
Last week Meghan, who turned 38 on August 4, is thought to have flown to Ibiza with Harry, 34, on what would have been three-month-old Archie’s first holiday.
It is believed the royal couple and Archie stayed in a secluded villa away from prying eyes, and travelled with security personnel for the ‘six-day trip’.
A source on the island told MailOnline that the royals landed in Ibiza on Tuesday last week with several taxpayer-funded Met Police bodyguards, and that five close protection officers from the Spanish security forces joined the phalanx escorting them to their private villa.
The couple’s decision to use a private jet for their Ibiza trip means the journey would have emitted six times more carbon dioxide per person than a scheduled flight from London to the Spanish island. The flights there and back would have given out 12.5 tons of carbon dioxide.
There are around 14 scheduled flights from London and the South-East of England to Ibiza each day.
Their choice of transport flies in the face of their frequent public pronouncements on green issues.
Last month British Vogue magazine – guest-edited by the duchess – published an interview by Harry with leading conservationist Dr Jane Goodall. In it the prince suggested that he and Meghan may only have two children because of their environmental concerns.
In contrast to the duke and duchess, climate change activist Greta Thunberg boarded a boat from England to New York because she refuses to travel by plane. The 16-year-old was one of the 15 ‘forces for change’ Meghan chose to put on the cover of Vogue.
By taking a private jet, the privacy-obsessed royal couple – whose son was born in May – were able to fly in and out of Ibiza incognito. The cost of taking a private plane ranges from £12,000 to £20,000 one way – so up to £40,000 return.
Critics have blasted their private jet trip as hypocritical.
Former UKIP MEP Patrick O’Flynn said: ‘This is really, really, really bad PR. It is the kind of ‘do as I say, not as I do’ behaviour that the British public detests.’
Friends of the Earth spokesmand Aaron Kiely said: ‘The Duke of Sussex speaks wonderful and stirring words on the environment and then he flies off on holiday to a European destination in a private jet.
‘He could have taken a train and then a boat. This would have been the perfect opportunity to set an environmental example.’
The holiday came just days after Prince Harry attended Camp Google in Sicily on July 31 after the tech giant flew him out for its celebrity climate summit.
MailOnline asked Buckingham Palace if the prince had travelled directly from Sicily via private plane, but a spokesman refused to comment.
The overhaul of Frogmore Cottage (pictured) was approved by the Queen, according to accounts released yesterday
The newly released royal accounts reveal the £2.4million spent on revamping Harry and Meghan’s new home, the costs of running Charles and Camilla’s household and the amount the Queen spent on travel in 2018/19
It comes less than two months after Harry and Meghan were criticised for spending £2.4million of public money doing up their new home in the grounds of Windsor Castle with the cost expected to balloon to £3million.
The newlyweds moved out of Kensington Palace this spring amid reports of a rift with Prince William and his wife Kate, whose joint Royal Foundation with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was also broken up last week.
The £2.4million ‘substantial overhaul’ of Frogmore Cottage – a gift to the couple from the Queen – was approved by Her Majesty but it is still not complete with the costs set to rise by up to £600,000 because of landscaping and more decorating.
The spending emerged as the Royal Household’s ‘Sovereign Grant’ redacted accounts were published.
Harry and Meghan were living together at Nottingham Cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace after their engagement in November 2017.
They were offered the palace’s grander Apartment 1, which boasts 21 rooms and adjoins William and Kate’s Apartment 1A, but chose to move 20 miles away to Frogmore Cottage instead.
Royal expert Robert Jobson, who wrote a best-selling biography on Prince Charles last year, told Good Morning Britain: ‘It’s costing far too much money, £2.4million.
‘They [Harry and Meghan] should’ve seen this coming, they could’ve avoided it by moving in next door to William and Kate’.