You’d Be Surprised Which Royal Family Member Spends the Most on Travel

The royal family travels often. The royals are some of the most important people in the world, and with so many engagements on their agendas, it makes sense that they spend plenty of time on the road and in the air.

The family has come under fire for their use of private aircraft through the years. But which family member actually spends the most on travel? You might be surprised.

The royal family
The royal family | Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/ Getty Images

The family flies private for security and convenience purposes

The royal family is unlike most families. They dedicate their lives to serving the public, and that means they often travel to different events and royal engagements. Sometimes, the royals do fly commercial; they often drive to destinations that are close, too. But they tend to fly private for two big reasons: Security and scheduling.

It is of utmost importance to keep the family safe. And traveling through a busy airport and on a commercial flight undoubtedly poses more security risks than flying private. Plus, since the royals have various engagements to get to at any given time, they sometimes fly private for convenience purposes, such as avoiding traffic or avoiding planning around commercial flight times.

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have arrived in Pakistan! ‎ڈیوک اور ڈچز آف کیمبرج پاکستان تشریف لا چکے ہیں۔ The Duke and Duchess’s first official visit to the country will pay respect to the historical relationship between Britain and Pakistan, but will largely focus on showcasing Pakistan as it is today — a dynamic, aspirational and forward-looking nation. ‎ڈیوک اور ڈچز آف کیمبرج کا پاکستان کا پہلا شاہی دورہ برطانیہ اور پاکستان کے مابین تاریخی تعلقات کی عزت افزائی ہے، لیکن زیادہ تر توجہ موجودہ دور کے پاکستان بحیثیت ایک متحرک، زندہ و جاوید اور دور اندیش ملک کی ترویج پر ہوگی۔ From the modern leafy capital Islamabad, to the vibrant city of Lahore, the mountainous countryside in the North, and the rugged border regions to the West, the visit will span over 1000km, and will take in Pakistan’s rich culture, its diverse communities, and its beautiful landscapes. ‎شاہی دورہ جدید طرز پر تعمیر شدہ سر سبز دارالحکومت اسلام آباد سے زندہ دلوں کے شہر لاہور، عظیم پہاڑی سلسلوں پر مشتمل شمالی علاقہ جات اور مغرب کی جانب ناہموار سرحدی علاقوں تک ہزار کلو میٹر سے زائد سفر پر مشتمل ہوگا۔‪ ‬اس دوران پاکستان کی بھرپور ثقافت، مختلف ثقافتوں پر مشتمل آبادیوں اور اس کے خوبصورت مناظر سے آگاہی اور لطف اندوز ہونے کا موقع ملے گا۔ Kensington Palace #RoyalVisitPakistan #pakistan

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Prince William and Kate Middleton step off a jet in Pakistan.

Various family members have come under fire for their flights’ effects on the environment

The royal family has always expressed a deep love for the environment. Harry and Meghan have focused greatly on environmental initiatives, including launching Travalyst to help create sustainable ways to keep up with travel demand. Yet still, Harry and Meghan fly private frequently, as do other royal family members.

The royals have defended their decisions to fly private, citing that it’s often for security and scheduling purposes. But the royals have also noted that they’ve made many strides in environmental protection, which “offset” their use of private aircraft.

Prince Charles spends the most on travel

Out of anyone in the family, Prince Charles spends the most money on travel — and it’s not even close. Between March 2018 and March 2019, Charles spent more than 1.13 million pounds on travel, or nearly $1.5 million, according to BBC (it’s important to note that calculations were based on trips costing 15,000 pounds or more).

Flights are often gifted to royals, too, which do not count toward their travel spending. Last year, Elton John gifted the use of his private jet to Harry and Meghan so they could fly to his French estate as privately as possible. Private jets are used less frequently than helicopters; BBC reported that 207 helicopter trips were made but only 56 by airplane.

Prince Charles
Prince Charles stepping off a helicopter | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

The other royal family members spent substantially less than Charles

Charles had the rest of the royal family beat by a longshot when it came to travel spending. The second costliest travelers were Harry and Meghan, who spent about $173,000 on travel in the same timeframe. The queen’s travel totaled to about $153,000, and William and Kate’s costs came to about $152,000.

Sometimes, it’s an all-around better option for the royals to simply fly private. But they do tend to fly commercial when they can — at least some of them.