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How Do the Queen and Royal Family Travel Abroad?

How Do the Queen and Royal Family Travel Abroad?

Wednesday, 14 August, 2019 - 06:45
Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, stand with Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William at Westminster Abbey for a Commonwealth Day service in London, Britain March 11, 2019. (Reuters)
London - Asharq Al-Awsat

It's no surprise that members of the British royal family are among the world's most well-traveled individuals. They frequently jet overseas on official business, and are also no strangers to holidaying in far-flung, and, of course, secluded destinations.

Sometimes, this is by private plane, but the Queen's relatives have also been spotted on budget airlines, scheduled trains, and behind the wheel themselves, reported the Town & Country website.

Travel arrangements for official visits are determined by the Royal Travel Office, which takes into account security, cost and logistics before coming up with a plan.

Sometimes, this involves a charter plane which allows royals and their entourage to more easily stop off in multiple countries or islands, such as when Prince Charles and Camilla visited Cuba and the Caribbean earlier this year.

For that trip, which cost £416,576 (roughly $506,286), Prince Charles used the UK ministerial jet, the Royal Air Force's VIP Voyager, which is available to royals and British government officials.

For other visits, commercial flights are deemed more appropriate, like when Prince Harry and Meghan traveled first class with Qantas for their tour of Australia and New Zealand in 2018.

During this trip they also used a charter plane, which cost £81,002 (roughly $98,444) to travel to Fiji and Tonga.

Usually, the British public pick up the bill for official overseas travel except when the royals are visiting Commonwealth Realms (countries where the Queen is also Head of State), in which case the host country pays. While off-duty members of the royal family have been known to use both private planes and budget airlines.

Prince William and Kate, for example, have borrowed the private jet belonging to the Duke of Westminster for family vacations in Europe. When they holiday on the Caribbean island Mustique, they usually travel first class with British Airways to St. Lucia before taking another 30 minute flight to the private island. However, the couple has also been spotted on the budget airline EasyJet while heading on a skiing break.

Harry and Meghan were also seen sitting in economy on a scheduled British Airways flight to Nice in December 2017 en route to ring in the New Year. However, they have also both used private jets, with Harry recently taking one to Google's Climate Change summit and Meghan returning from her baby shower in New York on one.

No one covering Prince Harry and Meghan's trip to Cardiff in January 2018 could forget the stormy look on Harry's face when he stepped out of the car an hour late thanks to a train delay. The couple had boarded the first class carriage of a regular rail service from London Paddington that morning but found themselves held up when the train was moved to a slower track.

Other regular train journeys have gone more smoothly and the young royals in particular often choose this mode of transport, especially to visit major cities.

The Queen also uses a regular train service every year to start her Christmas break at Sandringham, boarding at London's King's Cross and disembarking at Norfolk's King's Lynn station. This all appears pretty frugal; however, there is also the small matter of the Royal Train, which is still occasionally used by members of the family.

Regulations permit the royals to use public funds to travel from residence to residence, trips they often make by helicopter. The Queen's Helicopter Flight currently has two helicopters in operation, which are based at RAF Odiham.

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