Remember back when going on holiday was a thing? Y'know, pre-pandemic, when you'd spend hours trawling Skyscanner to get the cheapest flight deals? Yeah, it turns out then when Meghan Markle and Prince Harry embarked on their royal tour of Africa back in 2019 that there was none of that going on, as their travel costs racked up a rather hefty bill.
The sum in question? Oh, just a casual £245,643, according to Buckingham Palace’s Sovereign Grant financial report. Yep, the ten day excursion cost almost a quarter of a million pounds of taxpayers' money, which is £14,458 more than the average UK home comes in at. Blimey! Some of the expenses include the flights that Meghan and Harry took to and from South Africa, along with their little one, Archie, who joined them on the tour, and the cost of flights for a staff planning meeting.
During the tour, which was their first as a family, Meghan and Harry got stuck into meeting locals from all over the country, introduced Archie to Archbishop Desmond Tutu and also filmed a documentary, Meghan and Harry: An African Journey. During the film, Meghan confessed on camera that she sometimes struggled with her mental health in part due to intense media scrutiny.
"Any woman, especially when they're pregnant... you're really vulnerable and so that was made really challenging," the Duchess of Sussex said, referencing the constant criticism she's faced then (and now).
"Thank you for asking," she told journalist Tom Bradby, when he checked in with her. "Not many people have asked if I'm okay, but it's a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes." Bradby then dug a little deeper, asking: "And the answer is, it would be fair to say, not really okay? As in, it's really been a struggle?" To this, Meghan, who appeared to be getting a little choked up, said, "Yes."
Also revealed in the financial report was that Prince Andrew, who has also since stepped down from his senior royal duties following his scandal in relation to Jeffrey Epstein, racked up a bill of £15,848 when he flew to Northern Ireland to attend the Royal Portrush Golf Club's Open championship. The flight took place three weeks after Epstein's arrest.
Naturally, many were unhappy upon learning about the bills, with several taking to social media to air their dissatisfaction. "This is an outrageous waste of public money & can I put on record that as a tax payer the only flight I am willing to pay to put Prince Andrew on is one to America for his long overdue interview," wrote one, racking up over a thousand likes in support.
Prince Andrew has strongly denied the claims he slept with an underage girl and that he hasn't cooperated with authorities. "Far from our client acting above the law, as has been implied by press briefings in the US, he is being treated by a lower standard than might reasonably be expected for any other citizen," the Duke of York's legal team said in a statement. They also added that he has offered to speak with them at least three times.
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