Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced earlier in January that they would be stepping down as senior members of the Royal Family, in a bid to push forward with their personal careers and begin a new life in Canada. However, since then there has been massive speculation surrounding how the couple will be financially supported – including whether the British taxpayer will continue to foot their travel bill.
Harry was spotted jetting off to Canada following his final royal obligation, and it seems his method of travel was far less extravagant than the private jets the Royal Family are often accustomed to.
According to The Daily Mail, Harry flew commercially for the entire journey.
He began his venture from London’s Heathrow, travelling on board British Airways flight BA85 to Vancouver, before hopping on 16-minute WestJet flight to Victoria.
Though little is known about what cabin he travelled in on the British Airways flight, the small passenger plane from Vancouver to Victoria would have little room for extravagant seating.
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A travel expert at The Points Guy explained: “The aircraft was a Canadian-made Dash 8, a widely used turboprop aircraft found on Alaska Airlines regional routes or regional U.K. airline Flybe.
“With no space for a business- or first-class cabin, this would have been a very different experience from his previous flight on a British Airways 747.”
There has been no confirmation regarding how the flights were paid for, with talks rumbling on between the UK and Canadian government about how the couple will be supported.
However, Harry’s choice to fly commercially could be less to do with cost and more to do with recent backlash surrounding his use of private jets.
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In the summer he and wife Meghan were penalised for their use of four private jets in a span of 11 days despite being climate change advocates.
Harry also came under fire after taking another private jet to Sicily where he attended a Google climate change conference in July.
Following the incident the Royal Family emphasised a push away from private air travel, submitting a job posting for a new director of Royal travel whose main roles include “purchasing safe, efficient, cost-effective and appropriate travel services for the official duties of Members of the Royal Family and their Household.”
Despite this, with Harry and Meghan breaking free from seniority, they could soon face paying for their own travel expenses and no longer being under the guidance of the director of Royal travel.
Royal travel: Harry reportedly boarding a British Airways passenger plane to Vancouver for the first leg of his journey
At present, the British Taxpayer contributes to help the Royal Family embark on trips as part of their duty.
Yet with Harry and Meghan working to become “financially independent” they may no longer be funded by the Sovereign Grant.
This would certainly allow for more freedom to choose whether they opt for private jets or commercial flights.
Though as outspoken climate change supporters, the pair are expected to appear more frequently on regular, passenger planes.
The British taxpayer is expected to have contributed roughly £2.7m towards royal transport in 2018, the royals also use the Privy Purse and the Queen’s personal wealth to supplement travel and upkeep.
According to reports, the taxpayer is already expected to foot an eye-watering sum for the Duke and Duchess’s new life outside of royal duties. It is already estimated that they will still require the British taxpayer to pick up a £600,000 security bill every year as they adjust to life outside of the crown.
Meanwhile, Canadian residents have already spoken out about using their tax money to support the couple.
Over 80,000 citizens signed a petition demanding the Sussexes pay their ow way.
Laurel Collins, the MP for Victoria, said that while the couple is welcome in Canada, citizens of the country should not be out-of-pocket as a result.
According to the Daily Mail, Ms Collins said: “I hope that they’re planning on covering their security costs. When it comes to the money our government spends and taxpayer money it’s important that we put this into context and think about our priorities.”