The cost of the Prince of Wales and his family to the taxpayer rose by more than 10 per cent during the last financial year as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge embarked on married life.
Prince Charles’s accounts, now released, show his income from grants-in-aid and Government departments rose from £1,962,000 to £2,194,000, an increase of £232,000 during 2011/12.
The figures cover the Duchess of Cambridge’s first full year as a royal but her cost to the taxpayer and to the Prince – who funds much of her public work and official clothes – was described by a royal aide as “fairly marginal” compared with the overall total.
Prince Charles, through his private Duchy of Cornwall income, pays for much of the public work of his sons, William and Harry, and wife Camilla, with taxpayers’ money paying for official travel, communications and the upkeep of royal residences all through grants-in-aid.
Cash generated by the Duchy – the landed estate given to the heir to the throne to provide him or her with an income – went up by three per cent to £18.3m.
But spending on official travel by air and rail came to £1,318,000 – up £238,000, or 22 per cent, from the previous financial year.
Asked about the increase in the cost to the taxpayer, Paddy Harverson, the prince’s communications secretary, said: “It’s important to say this is the Government spending the Government’s money rather than us, because they determine where their royal highnesses go on overseas official travel.
“It’s gone up basically because there have been more members of the royal family travelling further afield to more countries then in the previous year.”
During the past financial year Charles and Camilla toured Norway, Sweden and Denmark in March, and last autumn visited South Africa and Tanzania while Charles visited Kuwait and Qatar.
William and Kate embarked on their first tour as a married couple last summer, visiting Canada, while Harry carried out a Diamond Jubilee tour to the Caribbean in March.
Graham Smith, chief executive of the campaigning group Republic, called for the Government to bring royal spending under proper control.
He said: “At a time when the country is facing sweeping cuts to public spending, Charles Windsor wilfully helps himself to whatever travel funds he wants or feels he needs.”
There has been speculation that the Duchess of Cambridge spends tens of thousands of pounds on dresses for official functions but a breakdown of her clothing costs was not included in the accounts released yesterday, only coming under expenditure for official duties and charitable activities – £9,831,000, up from £9,444,000.
William and Kate’s wedding fell within the period of the accounts with Prince Charles, as the groom’s father, contributing towards the cost along with the Queen and Kate’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton.