When William and Kate departed from the queen’s garden party at Buckingham Palace, they chose not to take a train or an automobile the 100 miles back home to Norfolk. The Daily Mail reported that instead, the couple took an £8 million luxury helicopter for a pampered 45-minute flight home. These appear to be the perks of being privileged.
As the British continue to tighten their belts, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hired the aircraft from Capital Air Services, a company specializing in VIPs. The eight seats are made of leather and the helicopter goes as fast as 180 mph.
Kate Middleton and Prince William commute home in £8m helicopter | Daily Mail Online - https://t.co/1B5Hsx9BQg— Ethan Beck (@EthanBCaithness) May 29, 2016
The paper also compared the cost of a train or car to the helicopter ride. A car going to the Kings Cross train station would take 23 minutes. The actual train ride to Kings Lynn would take just under two hours. The estimated cost for less than three hours would be about £110 for William and Kate.
A vehicle taking the couple back would take nearly three hours and the 115-mile trip would cost about £80. The helicopter that they did take would take about 45 minutes, taking the couple the 100 miles at a cost of about £5,000 for the couple.
Why should this matter? Many in British parliament are concerned with the finances of the royal family. The L.A. Times reported that the family spent $74.5 million dollars, going over budget by $3.5 million dollars, in between 2012 and 2013. While the family has been asked to economize, no one could argue that a helicopter to this afternoon event is the best way to spend money. A few years back, the queen began austerity measures that included a reduction of travel and freezing of staff salaries. That does not really sound like a big sacrifice for the royal family.
While anyone with young children can understand that Will and Kate want to return home to see their precious George and Charlotte, the extreme cost of the helicopter overextended into their travel budget and created scrutiny throughout all of Great Britain. While Kate and William are very popular, very few people can sympathize with this thoughtless extravagance.
Norman Baker, former Liberal Democrat Cabinet Minister and current member of the Privy Council said it all.
‘This is an outrageous waste of public money. At a time when everybody else is tightening their belts, it seems members of the Royal Family are loosening theirs and the public are having to pick up the bill.”
Meanwhile, Prince William’s mother’s good friend and mother of his first cousins, Beatrice and Eugenie, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, was seen wearily riding the tube, instead of taking a cab to her destination. Spotted on the Bakerloo line, Fergie looked absolutely exhausted after sending off a message on her telephone.
Sarah Ferguson Duchess of York joins the masses on the Bakerloo Line - Daily Mail: Daily MailSarah Ferguson D... https://t.co/JBWtAvhPXX— Fergie Fan News (@FergieFanNews) May 26, 2016
If anyone else on the train had any hesitation that this was indeed Prince Andrew’s ex-wife, they only had to glance at her handbag with close-up shots of her two daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie, on the Anya Hindmarsh bag.
Despite attending some high-profile events such as Sir Bob Geldof’s wedding last fall, and Royal Ascot, among other charity events, Sarah Ferguson has definitely been watching her pennies and following some serious austerity measures. While her two daughters also attended the queen’s garden party at Buckingham Palace, the Duchess of York attends only particular events and charities that she actively participates in.
While the public outcry for the extravagance of Will and Kate is strong now, there is hardly any chance that the future King of England is going to suddenly find himself taking a ride on the tube. People are all watching. If the very popular royal couple continues to spend so much money for such extravagances as a helicopter home from a garden party, they are going to find that the pursestrings are cut. A little compromise now will keep them in the public favor for a very long time.
Do you think it was ok that the royal couple took a luxury helicopter ride home?
[Photo by Dan Kitwood – WPA Pool/Getty Images]