The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan during a walk and meet at The Sydney Opera House, today. Picture: Justin Lloyd.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan during a walk and meet at The Sydney Opera House, today. Picture: Justin Lloyd.

The surprise cost of royal visit

PRINCE Harry and wife Meghan's 16-day royal tour is likely to cost Australian taxpayers upwards of a staggering $1 million.

A spokesperson for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet told news.com.au the total cost of the Duke and Duchess's visit was "not yet known but is expected to be consistent with past royal visits".

It is normal practice for the host nation of a royal visit to cover some of the associated costs, which can include transport, accommodation and relevant logistics, according to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Prince Charles and Camilla's trip to Australia for the 2018 Commonwealth Games cost taxpayers more than $1 million. The future king of England and his wife spent 10 days travelling around Queensland and the Northern Territory. Meghan and Harry will also spend a total of 10 days in Australia - with another six in Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.

"The Australian Government covers some of the costs associated with a royal tour," the spokesperson said. "Any expenditure meets official procurement guidelines."

Their Royal Highnesses are on their first official trip as a married couple following their May 2018 wedding in Windsor, England.

 

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex waits for an official photo with the Sydney Opera House as a backdrop in Sydney, Tuesday, October 16, 2018. Picture: AAP/AP, Steve Christo.
Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex waits for an official photo with the Sydney Opera House as a backdrop in Sydney, Tuesday, October 16, 2018. Picture: AAP/AP, Steve Christo.

 

They have 76 official engagements scheduled for the tour which has already included a trip to Sydney's Taronga Zoo, the Opera House and the drought-stricken outback town of Dubbo. The couple will spend Thursday in Melbourne before returning to Sydney for the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games on Saturday and later setting off for QLD's Fraser Island to meet indigenous leaders.

They will return to Sydney for the closing ceremony of the sporting event, founded by Prince Harry in 2014, which gives wounded, injured and ill military personnel and veterans the opportunity to compete in games including wheelchair basketball.

The royals, who this week announced they are expecting a baby, are travelling with an entourage made up of about 10 members of staff, including private secretaries, a personal assistant, hairdresser, a royal communications team and an orderly to carry luggage.

It's not the first time Harry has visited Australia. Last year, he made a whirlwind two-day trip to Sydney to cast his eye over the Invictus Games preparations.

In 2015, the prince was in Australia for a month-long army secondment at a cost of about $115,000. He was winding up his 10 years with the British Army by spending a month on attachment with Aussie troops in Perth and Darwin.

During the trip he paid tribute to diggers who served in Afghanistan, trained with special forces and patrolled with Aboriginal soldiers. He also surprised the residents of a small Aboriginal outback town by rocking up unannounced in military uniform.

 

The royal couple steps out in Sydney. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images.
The royal couple steps out in Sydney. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images.

 

Australian Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove (second right) and his wife Lady Cosgrove (left) present a toy kangaroo to Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan. Picture: AAP/AP, Steve Christo.
Australian Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove (second right) and his wife Lady Cosgrove (left) present a toy kangaroo to Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan. Picture: AAP/AP, Steve Christo.

HEY, BIG SPENDER

Just six months ago, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, came to Australia to open the Commonwealth Games. The tour cost taxpayers $1 million, a Senate Committee was told a month later.

The royal couple came with 13 support staff, according to a question on notice answered by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet yesterday.

Their transportation costs to regional areas including Darwin totalled $314,690.78, according to newly released documents covering the March and April visit. Australia also picked up the tab for Prince Charles to make a side trip to Vanuatu during the tour.

As part of the trip, Clarence House - the office of Prince Charles - sent an advance party of four to Australia to scout out venues and timetables prior to the royal visit. The bill for that reconnaissance was $131,000.

"The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet paid for 13 staff from Clarence House accompanying Their Royal Highnesses from London," a spokesperson said in response to a question from Labor's Jenny McAllister during a May senate hearing.

"Clarence House paid for an additional staff member to accompany Their Royal Highnesses from London. Clarence House also paid for an Australian based member of the travelling party to accompany Their Royal Highnesses while in Australia."

There were additional costs for domestic travel and security.

Charles and Camilla have been to Australia three times during their marriage.

They first toured for six days in 2012 in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, spending time in Tasmania, Victoria, NSW and the ACT, and running up a taxpayer bill of $437,057.

In 2015, Charles celebrated his 67th birthday in Australia with Camilla, taking in the sights of Adelaide, Tanunda, Canberra, Sydney, Albany and Perth.

Prince Charles receives a Welcome to Country Ceremony (Rirratjingu Bunggu) at Mt Nhulun on April 9, 2018 in Gove, Northern Territory, Australia. Picture: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images.
Prince Charles receives a Welcome to Country Ceremony (Rirratjingu Bunggu) at Mt Nhulun on April 9, 2018 in Gove, Northern Territory, Australia. Picture: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images.

COST OF PRINCE WILLIAM AND KATE'S TRIP TO AUSTRALIA

When Prince William and wife Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, visited Australia with a young Prince George in 2014, taxpayers forked out about $474,137, not including security and GST.

The bulk of the cost for the 10-day trip - $251,338 - was spent on transportation, according to documents previously released by Australia's Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

There were also expenses for media liaison ($85,366), domestic travel such as meals and accommodation ($73,638) and hospitality and event-related costs ($59,486).

The royals and their entourage travelled to some of the country's most famous tourist attractions, including Sydney Harbour and the Opera House, the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains and Uluru in the Northern Territory.

Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Duchess Kate, watch on as the sunsets on Uluru. Picture Gregg Porteous.
Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Duchess Kate, watch on as the sunsets on Uluru. Picture Gregg Porteous.

megan.palin@news.com.au | @Megan_Palin

Britain's Prince Harry meets Ruby, a mother Koala during a visit to Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/ via AP.
Britain's Prince Harry meets Ruby, a mother Koala during a visit to Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/ via AP.
Prince William and Catherine at the Sydney Opera House on April 16, 2014. Picture: Arthur Edwards/ WPA Pool/Getty Images.
Prince William and Catherine at the Sydney Opera House on April 16, 2014. Picture: Arthur Edwards/ WPA Pool/Getty Images.

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