Despite the British tabloids’ tendency to blame Meghan Markle for just about everything (which is getting really old, by the way,) there’s at least one specific title that cannot be dumped on her: the most expensive royal. According to the International Business Times, Prince Charles spent the largest amount of money from 2018-2019 on travel.
Participating in royal excursions is expected from the famous U.K. family, but you’ll be more than a little surprised when you see just how much the queen’s son is spending on his trips. Wait a minute, who’s footing the bill for such pricey travels anyway? Keep reading to learn more about the royal family’s finances for trips abroad.
What does Prince Charles spend so much money on?
This royal family member is quite the globe-trotter. According to the Express, Prince Charles spent nearly half of the family’s travel budget from April 1, 2018 through March 31, 2019. His own personal travel budget reportedly added up to £1.3 million. Joint airfare and rail costs for the heir to the throne and his wife, Camilla, totaled £1.33 million in that time period. When traveling, apparently Charles prefers to use the train, which reportedly costs about £20,000 per trip.
Of course, the train isn’t always an option. Charles and Camilla’s tour of the Caribbean and Cuba cost £417,000. As Newsweek reported, they were the first royals to visit Cuba for an official trip and traveled on a Royal Air Force Voyager military plane, while their staff used regular flights for the trip. A palace aide told the Express that there’s a reason the Prince of Wales traveled so much: “His overseas travel was at the behest of the Foreign Office who realise he is a terrific ambassador for Britain.”
By comparison, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal tour to New Zealand, Australia, Tonga, and Fiji cost £81,000, per Newsweek. Prince William’s history-making trip to Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank reportedly cost about £74,000. That means Charles and Camilla’s Caribbean/Cuba tour cost five times the amount of Harry and Meghan’s trip. Phew, that’s a lot of money!
Here's how the royal family pays for their travels
There’s a lot of info to sort through when it comes to royal family finances, but according to Town and Country, royal visits are funded by British taxpayers through something called the Sovereign Grant, which is “a sum of money granted to the monarch annually for official duties.” For 2018-2019, that amount was £82.2 million, which is the U.S. equivalent of about $104 million. Town and Country calculated that expense comes to £1.24 (or $1.58) per person in the U.K.
Speaking of taxpayers, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles are not required to pay income taxes, according to The Washington Post, but they choose to pay an amount equivalent to what their taxes would be. Prince Charles also gives money to Prince Harry and Prince William via his private estate, the Duchy of Cornwall, per The New York Times. He reportedly gave his sons and their families £4.9m in 2018. However, now that Harry and Meghan Markle plan to step back from royal duties and “work to become financially independent,” it’s unclear how much financial support Charles will provide in the future.
Additionally, the royal family “generates at least £2 billion of annual incremental revenue to the British market,” according to David Haigh, the CEO of a company called Brand Finance, who spoke to The New York Times. So while Prince Charles spends a mind-boggling amount on his annual travels, he’s still helping to generate a lot of revenue for the country and supporting his kids financially. It’s all about balance, right?
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