Royal sources have dismissed suggestions that Prince Charles inconvenienced British Prime Minister Theresa May by taking a Royal Air Force plane for his official visits with the Duchess of Cornwall in Europe.
Sources speaking to the Evening Standard newspaper said that the aircraft was booked months ago – when the UK government first requested the royals make the visits – and that the plane is not for the exclusive use of the PM.
The plane in question is a surplus RAF Voyager that was refitted last year to serve as an official aircraft for overseas visits from UK officials. Though there were reports that David Cameron claimed the plane solely for Prime Ministerial use in order to save taxpayers private jet chartering fees, Buckingham Palace officials dismissed these as false. They have said that the plane is for the use of The Queen as Head of State, the Prince of Wales when he is representing The Queen and then the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister arrived in the Middle East on Monday on a Boeing 757 owned by private charter firm Air Partner. Her three-day visit saw her take meetings with King Abdullah of Jordan and King Salman of Saudi Arabia to discuss trade and security.
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are currently undertaking a nine-day visit to Romania, Italy and Austria as part of a ‘charm offensive’ ahead of Brexit negotiations.
No 10 Downing Street has affirmed the Palace’s stance, saying: ‘Ever since we first thought up the idea of the Voyager, it was always designed for use by the Queen and the Prime Minister or anyone attending international events representing the Queen or PM…. The Prince of Wales is using it right now as he is representing the Queen on this tour he is on.’
A No 10 representative added: ‘Two visits at the same time means one aircraft will always have to be chartered…It makes no difference to the public purse whether Voyager is used by a member of the Royal Family or the Prime Minister.’