Prince Harry and Meghan’s visit to Africa last year cost taxpayers £245,000, and the Queen faces a £35million funding shortfall due to the pandemic, it has been revealed.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’ 10-day trip to nations such as Botswana and South Africa was the most expensive in the royal accounts published on Thursday night.
During the visit, Harry condemned parts of the media.
The Queen has vowed not to ask the Government for a taxpayer bailout to plug the £35m gap.
Sir Michael Stevens, the Keeper of the Privy Purse, said: “We have no intention of asking for extra funding and will look to manage the impact through our own efforts and efficiencies.”
A £369m project to revamp Buckingham Palace is forecast to be £20m short because the Sovereign Grant – the annual amount the Queen gets from the taxpayer – is expected to stay at £86.3m for the next couple of years.
The Royal Household has also predicted that a big fall in tourism revenue at the palaces will cost it £15m in the next three years.
The Sovereign Grant is worked out as a percentage of the profits of the Crown Estate property empire. Advisers banked on the Sovereign Grant continuing to rise.
But the profits, which are surrendered to the Government, froze at £345m this year and are forecast to drop next year due to the economic crisis.
The law says the amount the Queen gets cannot go down even when Crown Estate profits drop.
Prince Charles cost taxpayers £210,345 after chartering a plane to Oman on a two-day visit to pay his respects after the death of the country’s leader, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the accounts also show.
A palace source said the charter flight to Muscat and back to RAF Marham to attend a summit on Harry and Meghan’s future was at short notice and that no commercial flights were available.
Prince Andrew spent £15,848 of public cash on a charter flight to watch the Open golf championship in Portrush, Co Antrim.
Aides said a charter was the only way to fit in with his commitments. He has since stepped back from official royal duties after a backlash over his friendship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
In her role as patron of the Scottish Rugby Union, Princess Anne took a £16,440 charter flight to Rome to watch Scotland play.
A palace source said a charter was deemed the best option in terms of “security, efficiency and value for money”.
The accounts also show a £1m bill for the Duke of Gloucester
and his wife to move into a smaller home – the Old Stables – at Kensington Palace. It included a total refurbishment.