Prince Harry Reveals Why He and Meghan Markle Take Private Jets: ‘To Ensure My Family Are Safe’

Prince Harry has launched a new sustainable travel initiative — but it comes on the heels of criticism over his and wife Meghan Markle’s use of private jets for their transportation. When asked about that small detail, Harry defended the need to fly private from time to time, and it comes down to his family’s safety.

prince harry travalyst
Prince Harry | Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images

Prince Harry and Markle were called hypocrites

After their use of a number of private planes for their recent travels, many in the media and public took aim at the couple, calling them hypocrites for using gas-guzzling transportation when they are so outspoken about environmental issues.

At the time, a number of celebrities came to their defense, with Elton John explaining that he had paid for their private plane to France. He shared, in part: “Prince Harry’s Mother, Diana Princess Of Wales was one of my dearest friends. I feel a profound sense of obligation to protect Harry and his family from the unnecessary press intrusion that contributed to Diana’s untimely death.”

He added: “To support Prince Harry’s commitment to the environment, we ensured their flight was carbon neutral, by making the appropriate contribution to Carbon Footprint.”

Prince Harry defended why they take private planes

During his visit to Amsterdam, Prince Harry announced a new Sussex Royal initiative, called Travalyst. He shared that as travelers, “We can all do better,” adding, “And while no is perfect, we are all responsible for our individual impact. The question is what we do to balance it out.”

Of course, that statement was met with some criticism since he and his family have taken private transportation.

He explained, “I came here by commercial. I spend 99 percent of my life traveling the world by commercial.” Prince Harry did, however, defend the decision to take private jets, sharing: “Occasionally, there needs to be an opportunity based on a unique circumstance to ensure my family are safe and it’s genuinely as simple as that. But as I said in my speech, for me, it’s about balance.”

What is Travalyst?

Prince Harry explained that Travalyst has been in the works for two years, a collaboration with Ctrip, Skyscanner, Tripadvisor, and Visa to develop “solutions that will make travel more sustainable.” 

In an Instagram post on the Sussex Royal account, Prince Harry explained: “We believe in the power and importance of travel. We also have a shared responsibility to our planet and to each other.”

In his speech, he noted, “I am not a tourism or business expert, but through my travels I have observed the unique relationship between community and environment, and have noticed something alarming. There wasn’t the symbiosis or connection there needed to be and I wanted to understand why. I am one of those people fortunate enough to have a platform and I want to use it to tackle hard problems, in the hope of finding solutions.”

He shared: “Some problems are highly visible. Others are not. The latter are perhaps even more damaging, as out-of-sight-out-of-mind creeps in. As travellers we often don’t see the long-term impact we have on a destination, unless perhaps we revisit the same areas regularly.”

The Instagram post further notes that “the name #Travalyst comes from The Duke and partners viewing our role in sustainable travel as catalysts to accelerate positive changes in travel. Travel + catalyst = Travalyst.”

The initiative “aims to make travel more sustainable, to help protect destinations and benefit communities long into the future, and to enable consumers to make more environmental friendly choices whilst traveling.”