It cost £29,000 to fly Prince Charles from Scotland to London and back in a day to attend his niece Princess Eugenie’s wedding, we can reveal.
Another £22,000 was spent taking the prince to London on the royal train so he could collect an award for philanthropy.
Royal household accounts reveal the same-day return flight to and from Aberdeen – the nearest airport to the prince’s Scottish retreat at Birkhall – for his niece’s wedding on October 12 cost £28,911.
Overall, the royal family’s trips involving Scotland were just over £340,000 in the past financial year.
The 19 journeys averaged £17,950 a time, with either Charles and Camilla or the prince himself running up £179,711 in flights.
In addition, Charles landed a bill of £22,086 for a journey on the royal train on September 4 and 5 between Aberdeen and Euston to attend, among other engagements, The GQ Awards at the Tate Modern where the prince received The Editor’s Lifetime Achievement Award For Services To Philanthropy.
And a day trip by Charles – known as the Duke of Rothesay when north of the border – on January 1 saw him fly from Aberdeen to Stornoway on Lewis and back at a cost of £17,025. The prince was attending the centenary of the sinking of the admiralty yacht Iolaire in which more than 200 sailors drowned.
On December 20, he flew to Prestwick from London after holding an investiture at Buckingham Palace to attend the Dumfries House Tea Dance and a dinner for his Prince’s Foundation at his beloved Dumfries House in Ayrshire. He retuned the next day at a travel cost of £17,259.
The figures for royal travel, included in the annual royal accounts, do not give details for journeys costing less than £15,000.
John Finnie, Scottish Greens transport spokesperson, described the figures as “eye watering”, adding: “The accounts don’t even tell all, as only journeys over £15,000 are listed. Prince Charles in particular presents himself as an environmental champion, but clearly has no real regard of the impact his luxurious travel has on the climate.”
Western Isles SNP MP Angus MacNeil said: “This is not so much a carbon footprint as a yeti print. Everybody knows the royal family do a great job but they have to be reasonable about their travel and take scheduled flights where appropriate.
“What is particularly disappointing is that Prince Charles is a leading proponent of urging measures to tackle climate change but is not setting a very good example with these chartered flights. I am surprised that it has cost nearly £200,000 to fly to and from Scotland given his green credentials.
“There’s always the train, but even then, in Charles’ case, that costs over £22,000 one way.”
The Princess Royal, one of the busiest royals north of the border, had two such trips, totalling £30,454.
The Queen had four flights in and out of Aberdeen, centred around stays at Balmoral, totalling £67,154, while the Duke of York had one costing £22,208. However that bill includes a journey on August 21/22 from London to Budapest to Aberdeen – and a later return scheduled flight between London and Budapest – for an official Foreign Office visit to Hungary.
The visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the new V&A in Dundee cost £19,452 for travel.
However, the overall cost of royal family travel in 2018-19 was down £100,000 to £4.6 million.
Scottish flights represent more than half of the 34 most expensive published journeys. All flights north of the border were chartered.
But the documents reveal 204 helicopter trips, costing less than £15,000, were taken during the past 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 less than £370,000, scheduled flights cost almost £50,000 while scheduled rail journeys came to £80,265. “The Sovereign Grant meets the cost of official journeys undertaken by or in support of the Queen and other members of the royal family. Travel by the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge between residences is categorised as official,” says the household.
“Safety, security, dignity, the need to minimise disruption for others, the effective use of time, environmental impact and cost are taken into account when deciding on the most appropriate means of travel. ”
More than 3,200 official engagements were undertaken across the UK and overseas by members of the royal family during the year to March 31, 2019.
A Clarence House spokesperson said: “The Duke and Duchess carried out more than 600 official engagements last year. Inevitably there were costs attached to delivering these events, including travel.
“Decisions around transport are made with security, efficiency, value for money and environmental impact in mind. Last year’s published costs were delivered within the overall Sovereign Grant budget and all carbon emissions are offset at the Duke’s personal expense.”