The Royal Travel Index

New Research: Which Members of the Royal Family Have Accrued the Most Air Miles in the Last Five Years?

Whether it’s shaking hands with presidents or schoolteachers, Britain’s Royals are one of the most famous and instantly recognisable families in the world. With a global presence to maintain, part of their job role involves regular trips and tours to different countries, but which member of this prestigious family has been travelling the most?

To find out we scoured through the Royal Family’s financial reports from the past five years(1), focusing on the official international trips made by each family member, pulling out the number of trips made, the cost of these private jet trips and also the number of air miles travelled for each one. This resulted in the Royal Travel Index as you can see below.

When the top 13 members of the Royal family’s international travel plans in the last five years were combined, it was clear that they have accrued a serious amount of air miles – more than enough to get them to the moon and back, and then complete three loops of the earth’s equator(2).

In total, between 2015 and 2020, the Royal family have flown 545,161 miles over 92 trips with a cost of £6.5 million / $9 million – this isn’t counting trips within the UK or holidays, this is purely international business mileage!

The Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) is by far and away the most travelled Royal, with 25 trips taking him over 120,213 miles and amounting to a cost over £2.4 million / $3.3 million.

Charles’ longest trip took place in 2017 and took him to Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia and India – totalling up to 18,000 miles (the equivalent to making five trips between London and New York). While his most expensive trip cost over £416,000 / $573,000 , which took place in 2019 during an extensive tour around the Caribbean.

The majority of times a Royal flies, they fly private; 61% of the official trips taken internationally in the last five years were via private jet charters – none more so than Prince Charles and Camilla (18 and 12 trips respectively).

The Royal Travel Index

1. Prince of Wales – Prince Charles
120,213 air miles. 25 trips.
£2,468,501/ $3,395,855. 88% private jet flights

2. Duke of York – Prince Andrew
77,668 air miles. 9 trips.
£225,544/ $310,275. 33% private jet flights.

3. Duchess of Cornwall – Camilla
69,425 air miles. 13 trips.
£1,703,039 / $2,342,828. 92% private jet flights.

4. Duke of Sussex – Prince Harry
51,362 air miles. 7 trips.
£442,900/ $609,286. 43% private jet flights.

5. Duke of Cambridge – Prince William
48,496 air miles. 10 trips.
£477,054/ $656,271. 70% private jet flights.

6. Princess Royal – Princess Anne
42,331 air miles. Eight trips.
£287,778 / $395,889. 75% private jet flights.

7. Countess of Wessex – Sophie
35,204 air miles. Three trips.
£73,291/ $100,824. 33% private jet flights.

8. Earl of Wessex – Prince Edward
32,248 air miles. Three trips.
£81,167/$111,659. 33% private jet flights.

9. Duchess of Cambridge – Catherine
24,322 air miles. Six trips.
£288,196/ $396,464. 83% private jet flights.

10. Duke of Gloucester – Prince Richard
19,990 air miles. Two trips.
£47,725/ $65,654. 0% private jet flights.

11. Duchess of Sussex – Meghan
16,398 air miles. Three trips.
£326,645/ $449,357. 50% private jet flights.

12. The Queen – Queen Elizabeth II
3,752 air miles. Two trips.
£83,575/ $114,972. 100% private jet flights.

  • Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex had the highest average cost per trip at £163,323 / $224,292

  • Prince Andrew, the Duke of York had the lowest average cost per trip at £25,060 / $34,511

  • Sophie, the Countess of Wessex had the highest average mileage per trip of 11,735

  • The Queen had the lowest average mileage of 1,876, and also made the least trips – both of them only made two international trips in the last five years

  • Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester was the only Royal not to travel via private jet in the last five years

  • The Queen is most likely to travel private, while Prince Charles made the most private jet flights (18)

Vacation Time

While their official business trips are always followed by a conga line of publicity and have to be recorded in the yearly reports, the Royal family are a lot more private and withholding when it comes to details of personal holidays. Despite this, high profile Royals have been spotted enjoying time off at luxury locations around the world.

Prince Harry and Meghan

  • At least two trips in the last five years to Botswana, where Harry is now a patron for Rhino Conservation Botswana. It’s a 10,570 mile round trip from London to Botswana with an estimated private jet cost of $222,512

  • In 2017, they flew to Norway to see the Northern Lights. It’s a 1,502 mile round trip from London to Oslo, with an estimated private jet cost of $22,244

  • They also enjoyed a vacation in Jamaica in 2017 for a friend’s wedding, where Harry flew via commercial flight and Meghan took a private jet from Toronto. For Meghan this would have been a 2,882 mile round trip, and cost $63,686

  • In 2019, they celebrate Meghan’s 38th birthday with private jet flight to Ibiza. It’s a 1,747 mile round trip, at a cost of $25,260

Prince Harry and Meghan

Prince William and Kate

  • A Ski resort in the French Alps in 2016 and another trip to Biarritz in the same year, on both occasions they borrowed the Duke of Westminster’s private jet. Both trips equate to 2,114 miles and would have cost $27,184

  • Multiple family trips to the private Caribbean island of Mustique with the children in recent years, where they can enjoy being shut off from the outside world. One trip would involve 8,582 air miles at a cost of $174,858

Prince William and Kate

Prince Charles and Camilla 

  • Charles and Camilla enjoy yearly trips to their Welsh farmhouse in Carmarthenshire, and have also been spotted soaking up the sun near Corfu. A round trip to Corfu is 2,534 air miles and would cost $53,164

  • Charles owns numerous holiday properties, including a farmhouse in Transylvania, Romania

Prince Charles and Camilla

The Queen

  • In recent years, the Queen has opted to stay in the UK for her holidays and makes a yearly trip each summer to Balmoral Castle.

the queen

The Queen

Joel Thomas, President of Stratos Jet Charters, said,

“It has been fascinating to take a dive into the travel reports and find out just how many air miles one of the world’s most famous families have racked up in the last five years. However, it is hardly surprising that the Royals choose to use private jets for their transport, they are extremely useful for utilizing time, and as we know, the royal visits are often very busy with a lot of appointments. Also, private jet hire means that the family can travel safely and securely to their destinations, with anonymity which wouldn’t be possible using regular airlines.

“At Stratos Jets the past 12 months have definitely been strange for many of our customers. It’s important to remember that by using private jets in the last year as opposed to alternative options, we can be assured that the Royals are recognizing the threat of COVID-19 and taking the necessary precautions when carrying out their noble duties.

References

(1) Royal travel reports analysed were from 2015-2016 to 2019-2020:

https://www.royal.uk/sites/default/files/media/royal_travel_appendix_2015-16.pdf

https://www.royal.uk/sites/default/files/media/royal_travel_appendix_2016-17.pdf

https://www.royal.uk/sites/default/files/media/royal_travel_appendix_final.pdf

https://www.royal.uk/sites/default/files/media/royal_travel_-_journeys_costing_ps15000_or_more_final.pdf

https://www.royal.uk/sites/default/files/media/sovereign_grant_report_2019-20_royal_travel_appendix_0.pdf

(2) Distance from the earth to the moon is 238,900 miles, the circumference of the earth is 24,901 miles.

(3) Photo credits: Facebook

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