Prince Charles and Camilla’s royal tour of the Caribbean, which included a whirlwind one-night stay in the Cayman Islands, cost British taxpayers almost half-a-million dollars, according to data released by the royal family.
The 11-day trip, which also included a historic visit to Cuba, was the most expensive in a long list of royal travel expenses collectively totalling just over £2.75 million, equivalent to around CI$2.9 million.
Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who are responsible for the bulk of the royal family’s official overseas engagements, accounted for almost half of that total, according to data from the Sovereign Grant Report, which details annual UK government spending on the royals’ official duties.
The island-hopping trip, on the ministerial jet RAF Voyager, was requested by the UK government and also included stops in St. Lucia, Grenada, Barbados and Havana among others, costing a total of £416,576 (CI$438,000)
The report also highlights an increase in the royals’ “carbon footprint”, largely attributed to overseas travel.
Prince Charles has long used his platform to campaign for greater awareness of global climate change.
In a speech at Pedro St. James castle in Grand Cayman, the climax of the Caribbean trip, the prince delivered an urgent call to action over the “potentially catastrophic” impact of global warming.
The expenses report, which also keeps track of the royal family’s greenhouse gas emissions, indicates that CO2 emissions from business travel doubled from 1,687 tonnes in the 2017/18 financial year to 3,344 tonnes in the 2018/19 financial year. It attributes this to the use of the royal aircraft, which made five trips in the last financial year, compared with just one the previous year.
This increase was mostly offset by a large reduction in energy use across the royal estate, the report indicates,
“Total greenhouse gas emissions increased by 3 percent overall, due to the in-year impact of foreign business travel outweighing the reduction from heating and lighting,” the report states.
Prince Charles visited all three islands in a 28-hour tour of the Cayman Islands.
The prince, who has been a long-time champion of environmental causes all over the world, visited both CCMI in Little Cayman and the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park in Grand Cayman, where he met Cayman’s endangered resident blue iguanas, during his visit.
In his speech at Pedro St. James, he said he had been warning for years of the impending crisis of climate change and the responsibility to protect the inheritance of “our children and grandchildren”.
He added, “Now those very children are crying out for concerted action rather than just empty words.”