Meghan and Harry’s Africa tour cost taxpayers £245,000 in record royal trip

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's trip to Africa last year cost taxpayers £245,000, making it the most expensive royal tour last year.

This comes as the Queen reportedly faces a shortfall of £35million in funding due to the coronavirus pandemic, reports Mirror Online.

The couple's trip to Africa included a visit to Botswana and South Africa in the 10-day tour, according to accounts published on Thursday.

With accounts also showing the £35million gap in funding, reports say the Queen has vowed not to lean on a government bailout.

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.

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.

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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.

  • Meghan Markle and Harry 'eager to spend Christmas in UK' after nearly one year away

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.

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