Royal Family £15k minimum expenses rule masks ‘mysterious’ helicopter trips

Royal helicopter: Host discusses rule for 'undeclared' trips

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The Royal Family’s travel expenses are not listed in the annual reports if they cost below £15,000, as the recent accounts show that 47 helicopter trips were made during 2020-21 that are unexplained. The Queen and her household receive funding from the Sovereign Grant and publish their expenses in an annual report each June. 

Omid Scobie said, “What’s interesting about the helicopter trips and the travel in general that is shared in the royal reports, is that any trip that costs over £15,000 is itemised.” 

“The train trip across the UK that the Cambridges took to thank frontline workers ended up clocking in at something like £80,000, but any item that is under £15,000 is not itemised.

“So you have this mysterious collection of 47 helicopter trips that we’ll never know who or how that was used.”

“If you actually break down the number, each helicopter trip works out at around £14,700 per trip.” 

“Whoever has been invoicing has been by luck, just under the threshold of an item that has to be declared.”

The recent expenditure report also revealed that Buckingham Palace had spent £500,000 on laundry and cleaning and another £500,000 on replacing a roof on the north wing of the palace. 

Royal experts were left baffled at the rising costs of Buckingham Palace, considering that the Queen had spent the majority of the year at Windsor Castle, isolating in the ‘HMS Bubble’. 

It was also revealed that the Royal Family had cost the British taxpayer £85.9million in 2020-21. 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, expenses on travel, payroll and official engagements were significantly lower. 

However, an additional £11.2million was spent on maintenance due to the ongoing 10-year long renovation of Buckingham Palace. 

Accounts from Clarence House also showed that the Prince of Wales had been financially supporting Prince Harry and Meghan Markle until last summer. 

During their interview with Oprah Winfrey, Prince Harry said his father had financially “cut me off” following their departure from the Royal Family. 

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A spokesperson from Clarence House said that Prince Charles had “allocated a substantial sum to support them with this transition. That funding ceased in the summer of last year. The couple are now financially independent.”

For the first time, Buckingham Palace also released information on its ethnic minority staff, revealing that 8.5% of its employees fell into that designated group. 

Stating that it “must do more”, the Palace hopes to increase this figure to 10% by 2022. 

The Queen and the Royal Family receive their funding from the Sovereign Grant, which is paid by the British taxpayer.

The Queen’s vast property portfolio, the Crown Estate, is paid into the Treasury whilst she also receives a private income from the Privy Purse, which is primarily funded from the Duchy of Lancaster. 

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