From helicopters to private jets
Throughout her 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth II has traveled in the utmost luxury, whether by land, sea or air.
On June 30, the British Royal Household published its financial report for the year 2021-2022, giving an overview of how the monarch and working members of her family get from A to B and how much it costs.
In total, over the past financial year, the Royal Family spent £4.5m ($5.4m) on travel, including official tours undertaken by Prince Charles, Prince William and Kate Middleton, as well as some working royals.
But how do members of the British royal family travel and what methods do they have? Newsweek has the answers.
The helicopter is one of the primary means of domestic transportation for the Queen and working members of her family.
During her reign, the monarch had a number of helicopters at her disposal with her husband, Prince Philip, learning to fly the plane himself.
The Queen currently relies on two main helicopters at her disposal, which are painted in a dark brown color with royal numerals on each side. The craft is an S-76 model from the American manufacturer Sikorsky and has been used by the royal family since 2009.
The 2021-2022 Royal Family financial statements revealed that more than 179 helicopter trips were made by the working Royal Family throughout the year. As the expense for this is paid from the allocation of funds the Queen receives from the government to pay for her official duties, she retains the right to approve each use of her aircraft by members of her family.
Although helicopters are able to land in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, the main central London landing center for members of the royal family is at Kensington Palace in a large field at the north end of the complex.
In the same way that the Queen has the use of helicopters to help her travel quickly and safely to the UK for short-haul flights, she also has access to private jets both for her use. personal, as well as for the use of active family members and government officials.
The Royal Household’s financial report for 2021-22 revealed that almost $1 million was spent on travel in small and large fixed-wing aircraft for official royal travel.
More recently, the Queen’s flight in a private jet made headlines when it was revealed by Buckingham Palace that the 96-year-old monarch had suffered a failed landing attempt after driving through a thunderstorm before the its platinum jubilee celebrations.
The Queen no longer undertakes overseas travel and therefore reserves the use of private jets generally for her trips to Scotland throughout the year.
Although the Queen no longer makes international visits, other members of her family are regularly called upon by the Foreign Office to replace her in promoting British assets around the world.
In the 2021-2022 financial year, the royal family embarked on a number of overseas tours, including the much-criticized visit by Prince William and Kate Middleton to the Caribbean, which cost $274,000.
For their trip to the Caribbean, the Cambridges traveled aboard RAF Voyager, the British government’s VIP aircraft. Although it retains a military function as an aerial refueling craft, it is also used to transport senior government officials and members of the royal family.
RAF Voyager is maintained and flown by the Royal Air Force, which oversees all Royal Family air travel.
In addition to traveling in VIP comfort, members of the Royal Family and their staff occasionally travel for business purposes for official engagements.
The Duchess of Cambridge has been spotted flying with British Airways passengers on short trips to Europe for engagements, most recently for her solo visit to Denmark in February.
Financial reports released on June 30 showed the Royal Household spent £200,000 on scheduled flights in 2021-22.
The royal train
The Royal Train is made up of a series of private carriages reserved for use by senior members of the Royal Family when traveling around Britain. There has been a royal train since the reign of Queen Victoria and the current one was presented to Queen Elizabeth II in 1977, although it has had its interiors updated in the years since.
The Royal Train was used throughout the Queen’s reign, but sparingly due to its high running costs and the logistical requirements of working in conjunction with the wider UK rail infrastructure.
In 2018, the Queen invited Meghan Markle to accompany her for a rare engagement, which was seen as an introduction to royal duties for the newest member of the Royal Family. The couple traveled to a bridge opening in Cheshire on the royal train with Meghan fondly recalling the experience in her 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey.
More recently, the royal train was used by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when they embarked on a tour of Britain in December 2020 to thank key workers during the pandemic.
Total expenditure on the Royal Train, including operating lease payments, for 2021-22 was £1million.
Fleet of motor vehicles
In addition to helicopters, planes and trains, the Royal Family also has a fleet of luxury motor cars which are used for official events such as the official opening of Parliament, Platinum Jubilee celebrations as well as regular engagements across the UK.
In 2021-22, the official expenditure for motor vehicle travel undertaken by the Queen and members of the Royal Family was £200,000.