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Earlier this year, Prince William and Kate Middleton embarked on an official eight day tour of the Caribbean, visiting Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas as part of the trip.
Their arrival in Jamaica was met with criticism, with protestors gathering in Kingston outside of the British High Commission ahead of their visit calling for the monarchy to apologise for their history of colonialism and make slavery reparations. During a state dinner hosted by the governor general of Jamaica, Patrick Allen, William addressed the issues and expressed his ‘sorrow’.
Following the tour, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were advised to take ‘a step back’ and evaluate how they could modernise the monarchy, with one insider claiming that they will change how they are addressed in future to appear more approachable, saying: ‘When the team arrived back in London the couple had a debrief with aides. They went over everything and pinpointed specific things that went wrong and how to improve moving forward.
‘The general consensus was that the tour seemed out of date, out of touch, too formal and stuffy. So now it’s more ‘Wills and Kate’ instead of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge… ‘Just call me Wills’ type of thing.’
However, the trip has caused fresh controversy this week following the release of the royal accounts for 2021 and 2022 amid the cost of living crisis.
It shows that flights taken by William and Kate during the tour cost UK taxpayers £226,383, with the couple traveling by charter jet, and was the most expensive royal tour this year.
The total travel bill for the royal family’s trips during that time amounted to £4.5 million – a £1.3 million increase year on year – and it is funded through the Sovereign Grant, which is paid for by the taxpayer.
The accounts also show that the funded grant amounted to £86.3m and that 2,300 engagements were undertaken by the family.
In a statement via Vanity Fair, Sir Michael Stevens – keeper of the privy purse – said: ‘Looking ahead, with the Sovereign Grant likely to be flat in the next couple of years, inflationary pressures on operating costs and our ability to grow supplementary income likely to be constrained in the short term.
‘We will continue to deliver against our plans and manage these impacts through our own efforts and efficiencies.’
Prince Charles’ visit to Barbados was the second most expensive royal tour, costing £138,000 for his chartered flights.