With Meghan Markle and her husband, Prince Harry, becoming known for their outspoken campaigns for social change, including as anti-poverty activists as well as advocates for fighting the dangers of climate change, the Duchess is facing a fierce backlash after flying back to the United Kingdom from her extravagant baby shower at a high-end New York City hotel in a private Gulfstream G450 jet, at a cost of a whopping $125,000, according to a report by Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper on Thursday.
Not only has Markle been slammed for the extraordinary cost of the flight, but environmentalists have also accused her of “hypocrisy” due to the harmful effects of private jet flights, according to The Mail.
“Perhaps for future trips the Duchess could consider less carbon intensive modes of travel. We invite her to set a good climate trend by flying less,” a spokesperson for the environmental group Friends of the Earth, noting the large carbon footprint create by jet flights carrying only a few passengers, told the paper in an email.
“Air travel is a massive, and growing, problem,” wrote London activist and Hackney borough councillor Jon Burke on his Twitter account. “We need carbon taxes to reduce the CO2 planes are belching, but they’ll only be viewed as legitimate if publicly-funded institutions like @RoyalFamily are also forced to show leadership.”
The Mail reported that Markle also flew from Britain to New York on a private jet flight, bringing the cost of her round-trip air fare to an eye-watering $250,000. But according to a report in another British tabloid, at least the return leg of the trip did not come out of the British taxpayer’s pocket.
A “source” who spoke to The Sun newspaper claimed that Amal Clooney, the human rights lawyer and wife of movie star George Clooney, paid for the private jet jaunt back to the U.K.
“Meghan hitched a ride with Amal on the private jet. Amal was already flying back and covering all the costs so it made total sense,” the unidentified Sun “source” claimed. “Amal was more than happy for Meghan to fly back with her and the kids.”
Clooney and tennis superstar Serena Williams hosted the baby shower in New York for Markle, according to The Evening Standard newspaper, which reported that the event was held in the penthouse of the tony Mark Hotel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side — a penthouse that comes with a nightly fee of $75,000.
A spokesperson for Kensington Palace, the official home of Markle and Prince Harry, told The Standard that the entire trip was funded privately, and not out of the public funds used to keep the Royals in business.