Prince Harry and Meghan Markle dubbed hypocrites after fourth private jet in 11 days
Prince Harry and Meghan have been accused of hypocrisy for taking four private jet trips in just 11 days – as Sir Elton John said he paid for the couple’s luxury travel for their “much needed protection”.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were photographed boarding a 12-seater Cessna 680 at Nice airport on Saturday, as a scheduled British Airways flight took off behind them.
They had arrived on the French Riviera with baby Archie just three days earlier, again on a private plane from Farnborough airfield in Surrey.
Last night Sir Elton released a rare statement defending the Royal couple, who stayed at his £15m palatial home Castel Mont-Alban during their short break.
The singer, a close friend of Harry’s mother Princess Diana, said: “To maintain a high level of much-needed protection, we provided them with a private jet flight.
“To support Prince Harry’s commitment to the environment, we ensured their flight was carbon neutral.”
But environmentalists said the decision to fly privately could not be offset by Sir Elton’s donation to the sustainability website Carbon Footprint.
Paul Morozzo, Climate Campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: “An airliner is over ten times as polluting as a modern train, and private jets are ten times more polluting still.
“It’s vitally important that all frequent fliers reduce the number of flights they take if we are to confront the climate emergency.”
Ken Wharfe, an ex-royal protection officer who guarded Princess Diana, said: “Frankly it’s hypocritical. Harry can’t be preaching about the catastrophic effects of climate change while jetting around the world on a private plane.”
Earlier this month Harry and Meghan chartered their own luxury aircraft for both legs of a six-day trip to Ibiza to celebrate the Duchess’ 38th birthday. It is not known who paid for that journey.
The decision to fly privately means they have generated an estimated seven times the emissions per person compared to passengers on a commercial flight from Nice to Britain.
There were more than 20 commercial flight options for the same route.
Harry and Meghan’s trip to France was estimated to have had a carbon footprint of just over three tons and their earlier trip to Ibiza was believed to have had a footprint of more than four tons. The carbon footprint of an average person in the UK is 13 tons a year.
The couple’s decision to use a private jet for their Ibiza trip means the journey would have emitted six times more carbon dioxide per person than a scheduled flight from London to the Spanish island.
The flights there and back would have given out 12.5 tons of carbon dioxide. There are around 14 scheduled flights from London and the South East to Ibiza each day.
At least one leg of the journey to the Spanish island is thought to have been booked through NetJets, which has earned the nicknames ‘Hertz For Heirs’ or ‘Uber for billionaires’ because of its services for the mega-rich.
NetJets says it has been carbon neutral since 2012 by investing in research to create sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels.
Coming so soon after both Harry and Meghan of their climate change concerns, the private flights provoked widespread criticism.
In an interview published in the September issue of Vogue with conservationist Jane Goodall, Harry
revealed that he and Meghan wanted a “maximum” of two children because of environmental concerns.
The issue was guest-edited by the Duchess.
She selected climate change activist Greta Thunberg as one of her “forces for change” to be put on the front cover.
However 16-year-old Greta, 16, travelled to New York from England by boat because she refuses to travel by plane.
Labour MP Teresa Pearce said: “Given the position they have taken publicly about being responsible on climate change, this does seem an anomaly which they should look at.
“I find this quite surprising because it doesn’t fit with their public image and the way they’re so concerned about the planet and the environment.”
The Duke, who has vowed to cut his family’s carbon footprint, also faced criticism last month for travelling to Sicily by private jet for a Google climate summit.
While there he is believed to have spent time on a gas-guzzling super-yacht, another energy inefficient forms of transport.