Air Miles Ed­ward!

Prince spends up to £10k of pub­lic cash on jet for jour­neys that would have cost just £210 by rail

Daily Mail - - News - By Re­becca English Royal Correspondent

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

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