Air Miles Edward!
Prince spends up to £10k of public cash on jet for journeys that would have cost just £210 by rail
IT is usually older brother Andrew who is criticised for using too many private jets and helicopters.
But could Prince Edward soon find himself earning the nickname ‘Air Miles Eddie’?
The Earl of Wessex was accused this week of a ‘blatant abuse of public money’ after he used a private plane to travel between engagements, costing taxpayers up to £10,000 for journeys that would have cost around £210 by rail.
Edward took the executive jet rather than travel the 132 miles from his home in Bagshot, Surrey, to Tamworth, Staffordshire, by car on Tuesday morning – a journey that would have taken less than two and a half hours by car.
He used the Cessna 560XL again to travel on to Poole, Dorset – 175 miles and about three and a half hours by road.
Edward was driven to an airport near his home and flown to Birmingham. From there he was taken around 20 miles by chauffeur- driven Jaguar to Tamworth, where he attended a service marking the 1,100th anniversary of the death of, Aethelflaed Lady of Mercians, followed by a reception at Tamworth Castle.
Aethelflaed, who ruled the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, was the daughter of Alfred the Great, king of Wessex.
Edward was taken back to Birmingham Airport and hopped on the jet again for a 30-minute flight to Bournemouth, 11 miles from Poole.
In his role as a trustee of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Edward visited the Sunseeker International Shipyard and attended a dinner on Brownsea Island at the start of a three-day visit.
Yesterday he visited Canford School in Wimborne and The Hyde Real Tennis Club in celebration of The DofE’s Award Real Tennis Tour 2018. Today, as chairman of the trustees of The DofE’s International Award, he will visit Canford Real Tennis and Squash Club.
Real tennis, a centuries- old sport played on an indoor court, is one of Edward’s passions.
It is understood the prince, who undertook 291 royal engagements in 2017 and last week spent four days in Hong Kong and China on behalf of the DofE, will return from Dorset by car. A spokesman for the prince insisted the jet had been a carefully considered option.
‘As ever, security, effective use of time, and the need minimise disruption to others is taken into account when decisions are taken about transport,’ they said
But Graham Smith, from anti- monarchy campaign group Republic, said: ‘This is a blatant abuse of public money. He should be taking public transport or cars.’
Prince Edward: Busy royal schedule
Flying visit: Edward’s Cessna at Birmingham on Tuesday