Prince Andrew spent £16,000 of taxpayer cash on a flight to watch The Open Championship golf tournament, newly released royal receipts show.
The disgraced Duke of York hopped on a private jet from Farnborough in Hampshire to Portrush, in Northern Ireland, last July – despite a litany of daily flights servicing the London to Belfast route.
Royal Portrush – where the tournament was held – stripped the 60-year-old of his patronage at the club following his car crash Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis last year, when the Duke repeatedly refused to apologise for his friendship with billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
The expenditure was revealed in the annual Sovereign Grant Report, where it is revealed how the royals have spent their annual allowance from the Treasury.
A palace source told the Sun: “He was undertaking a visit on behalf of his patronage. Arrangements in relation to the programme did not enable him to travel by scheduled flight.”
Princess Anne, Andrew’s sister, is also under fire after taking a day trip to Rome for a Six Nations match in February – which cost the taxpayer £16,440.
The next-in-line, Prince Charles, also spent over £19,000 on a private flight to Abderdeen a day before Britain went into coronavirus lockdown, in March.
The explosive report also revealed that the travel costs for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s high-profile trip to southern Africa last September cost that taxpayer close to £250,000 – making it the most expensive royal journey of 2019-20.
The value of the royal family’s portfolio – which includes rent from shops in Regent Streets, shopping centres and retail parks across Britain – has fallen by more than £500 million since the pandemic struck.
But the government said it would provide the estate with extra money to make up for any shortfall in profits, guaranteeing that the Queen’s sovereign grant does not dip.
A Treasury spokesman told The Independent: “In the event of a reduction in the Crown Estate’s profits, the sovereign grant is set at the same level as the previous year.
“The revenue from the Crown Estate helps pay for our vital public services – over the last 10 years it has returned a total of £2.8bn to the Exchequer.
“The sovereign grant funds the official business of the monarchy, and does not provide a private income to any member of the royal family.”
Robert Palmer, head of Tax Justice UK, said: “This royal bailout will be tough to stomach for people who love the Queen but have lost their jobs and businesses during the pandemic.”
Last week the Crown Estate announced a £55 million drop in the value of its rental portfolio, bringing it to £13.4 billion.