The Duke and Duchess of Sussex took a commercial flight to Rome for the wedding of Meghan’s friend Misha Nonoo after a public backlash over their use of private jets.
Prince Harry and Meghan have travelled to Italy – on what is their ninth plane journey in just over six weeks – to relax at the wedding having left baby Archie Mountbatten-Windsor safely at home.
The pair are thought to be enjoying some downtime at the nuptials at Cinecittà film studios tomorrow before they begin their royal tour to South Africa on Monday.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have taken nine flights in the last two months including four private jet flights in eleven days last month
Meghan greets her designer friend Misha Nonoo at John Lewis in London on September 12
A source told The Sun: ‘They did fly commercial as Meghan was a bit stung by the criticism over her and Harry’s use of private jets.’
The source added: ‘Misha helped introduce Harry to Meghan and the two women are the best of friends. Meghan wasn’t going to miss her wedding for the world.’
The Sussexes attracted scorn last month for catching four private flights in 11 days to Ibiza and Nice, despite their vociferous campaigning on environmental issues.
There are about 20 commercial flights daily from London Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Southend, City and Stansted to Rome’s two airports, Fiumicino and Ciampino.
Misha Nonoo and Michael Hess attends Harry to Meghan’s wedding in Windsor in May 2018
Flight departures from private airports Farnborough and Biggin Hill, which are both popular with those in the South East, had no journeys to Rome in the past 24 hours.
The couple are expected to return to Britain on Saturday following their two-day trip, while Archie is looked after by a relative or friend at home.
Designer Miss Nonoo, 31, who collaborated with Meghan on her Smart Set capsule wardrobe for the Smart Works charity, is preparing to marry oil tycoon Michael Hess.
Miss Nonoo is credited with introducing Meghan to Harry after setting them up on a blind date in 2016. She was previously married to the Duke’s friend Alexander Gilkes.
The couple, who live at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, enjoyed a week-long trip to Ibiza and a long weekend in the south of France with Sir Elton John last month.
Harry and Meghan attend The Lion King film premiere in London’s Leicester Square on July 14
The Sussexes came under fire for taking private flights after previously claiming they will have a maximum of two children to avoid damaging the environment.
Their son Archie, who was born at Portland Hospital in London on May 6 and is seventh in line to the throne, turned four months old last week.
They flew to Ibiza by private jet on August 6 for Meghan’s 38th birthday. Days later, they flew to Nice on a £15million Cessna plane described as the ‘pinnacle of luxury’.
Sir Elton said he paid for their flights to his holiday home and made an ‘appropriate contribution’ to a carbon footprint fund to offset the environmental impact.
Last week, Harry defended his use of private jets, claiming he needed them for his family’s safety – despite urging the public to cut their carbon footprint.
The wedding is expected to take place at the Cinecittà studios in Rome tomorrow (file image)
He took a scheduled flight to Amsterdam this week to promote Travalyst, a scheme for environmentally-friendly tourism.
Speaking at the event, the prince refused to apologise for his recent private flights, saying: ‘I spend 99 per cent of my life travelling the world by commercial.
‘Occasionally there needs to be an opportunity [to fly privately] based on a unique circumstance to ensure that my family are safe – it’s as simple as that.
‘For me it’s about balance. It’s not a decision I would want to take, but if I have to do that, I will ensure that I balance out the impact that I have.’
Karlie Kloss is said to be one of the guests attending the wedding in Rome tomorrow. The supermodel is pictured with her husband Joshua Kushner in New York in April 2016
Harry dismissed concerns over his carbon footprint by insisting that he ‘offsets’ his emissions by donating to renewable energy incentives and planting trees.
The row was worsened for the couple when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were seen flying with their children on a budget flight from Norfolk to Scotland.
Decisions about the most effective, economical and safe way to travel are taken by a royal visits committee.
Despite his comments, analysis of Harry and Meghan’s known international flights since their wedding shows six of the ten return trips they took were by private jet.
Miss Nonoo is also friends with Princess Eugenie. They are seen in New York on September 9
Last week Miss Nonoo spoke out to defend her friend Meghan against what she described as ‘unjust’ public criticism, and also praised the Duchess’s work ethic.
Who is Misha Nonoo?
Born in Bahrain, Misha Nonoo’s father is an Iraqi businessman, her mother is English.
The family moved to the UK when she was 11 and she attended the ACS International school in Cobham, where full boarding and tuition fees are now £45,560 a year.
She then spent two years in Paris, before taking a job in a small tailoring firm in New York.
She has said that she wanted to be a clothes designer since she was 11 years old. Within ten years, she had achieved that ambition via a fashion collection — initially only of jackets and coats.
A few seasons later, she had been dubbed ‘one to watch’ in New York, with Gossip Girl star Blake Lively wearing her clothes in Vogue magazine, and actress Kirsten Dunst being an early fan.
Influential stylist Olivia Palermo has championed her, and Palermo is also a pal of Meghan’s.
Miss Nonoo’s stellar social profile in New York did her professional success no harm, and this was partly founded on her marriage to Old Etonian Alexander Gilkes.
He rose from beginnings at the luxury concierge service Quintessentially to work for the LVMH luxury goods group, before moving into art and auctions.
Miss Nonoo’s 2012 wedding to Mr Gilkes, the son of a wealthy dermatologist, was a three-day bash in a 16th-century castle in Venice, with a live performance by singer Lana Del Rey.
Given that Meghan said this week that she knew almost nothing about Prince Harry before she met him, it’s interesting to note that Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice attended the Gilkes-Nonoo wedding in 2012.
Not only that, Meghan’s ‘sister’ Miss Nonoo’s also went to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton the year before. So it’s not as though Meghan was entirely a stranger to the young royal set.
And in the summer of 2012, Mr Gilkes hosted Pippa Middleton at the couple’s Manhattan townhouse when she was on a trip to the city.
All of the Middletons are pals with Gilkes — his nightclub entrepreneur brother Charlie once dated Pippa. Also, in 2013, Mr Gilkes employed Princess Eugenie at his New York-based art auction house, Paddle8.
Eugenie and Miss Nonoo became friends, and the Princess is a regular at her Fashion Week parties.
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie are expected to be at the star-studded nuptials tomorrow for Miss Nonoo and Mr Hess, along with singer Katy Perry and her actor fiancé Orlando Bloom.
Among the other rumoured attendees are Queen Rania of Jordan and supermodel Karlie Kloss, who could attend with husband Joshua Kushner, a friend of the groom’s.
It has also been claimed Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner might have been invited, although it is unclear whether they are friends of the couple.
US TV host Gayle King, who was also invited to the Duchess of Sussex’s baby shower in February, could also be there.
This will be the first marriage for Mr Hess and the second for Miss Nonoo, who was once wed to Paddle8 founder Mr Gilkes.
She was one of the attendees at Harry and Meghan’s wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018, and was also a guest at the Duchess’s baby shower in February.
Miss Nonoo is the daughter of an Iraqi businessman and English mother, and aged 11 moved to London with her family.
She is also Jewish, as is Mr Hess, whose grandfather Leon founded the multi-billion-dollar Hess Corporation. Mr Hess’s father John is now the chief executive.
Nonoo and Mr Hess made their relationship public at the royal wedding last year, and a few months later joined Mr Kushner and Ms Kloss on Italy’s Amalfi Coast on David Geffen’s yacht.
Eugenie, who is also a close friend of Miss Nonoo’s, worked for Mr Gilkes’s auction house Paddle8 in New York from September 2013 until 2015.
Eugenie, alongside Prince Harry and Princess Beatrice, were all in attendance for the couple’s wedding in 2012, with the couple going on to split in 2016.
Princess Beatrice has already arrived in Italy ahead of the event, taking in the Amalfi Coast with boyfriend Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi earlier this week.
The 31-year-old royal and the millionaire property developer, 35, spent time together in the exclusive village of Positano on the Amalfi Coast on Sunday.
Miss Nonoo and Mr Hess planned the wedding in just six months, after Mr Hess proposed on Valentine’s Day this year.
In a photo, he was seen down on one knee proposing to his future bride on a boat during what appeared to be a romantic getaway to Cabo San Lucas.
The Cinecittà studios is Europe’s biggest film set, with Hollywood blockbusters such as Gangs of New York and Passion of The Christ filmed there.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment about the Sussexes’s travel arrangements or who is looking after Archie when approached by MailOnline.