Meghan Markle 'flew to Ibiza on private jet' with Prince Harry and son Archie

Published in Femail | Mail Online
1 year ago

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex enjoyed a secret trip to Ibiza on a private jet to celebrate Meghan's birthday - despite their persistent posturing about being green.

Meghan, who turned 38 on August 4, is thought to have flown to the island with Harry, 34, on what would have been three-month-old Archie's first holiday. 

The royal couple and Archie stayed in a secluded villa away from prying eyes, and travelled with security personnel for the 'six-day trip'.

The royals landed in Ibiza on Tuesday last week with several taxpayer-funded Met Police bodyguards who appear to have have handed over to five Spanish close protection officers who took them to their private villa.

The couple's decision to use a private jet for their Ibiza trip means the journey emitted six times more carbon dioxide per person than a scheduled flight from London to the Spanish island. The flights there and back would have given out 12.5 tons of carbon dioxide.

There are around 14 scheduled flights from London and the South-East of England to Ibiza each day.

Their choice of transport flies in the face of their frequent public pronouncements on green issues.

Last month British Vogue magazine – guest-edited by the duchess – published an interview by Harry with leading conservationist Dr Jane Goodall. In it the prince suggested that he and Meghan may only have two children because of their environmental concerns.

In contrast to the duke and duchess, climate change activist Greta Thunberg yesterday boarded a boat from England to New York because she refuses to travel by plane. The 16-year-old was one of the 15 'forces for change' Meghan chose to put on the cover of Vogue.

By taking a private jet, the privacy-obsessed royal couple – whose son was born in May – were able to fly in and out of Ibiza incognito. The cost of taking a private plane ranges from £12,000 to £20,000 one way – so up to £40,000 return.

Critics have blasted their private jet trip as hypocritical.

Former UKIP MEP Patrick O'Flynn said: 'This is really, really, really bad PR. It is the kind of 'do as I say, not as I do' behaviour that the British public detests.' 

Friends of the Earth spokesmand Aaron Kiely said: 'The Duke of Sussex speaks wonderful and stirring words on the environment and then he flies off on holiday to a European destination in a private jet.

'He could have taken a train and then a boat. This would have been the perfect opportunity to set an environmental example.'  

The holiday came just days after Prince Harry attended Camp Google in Sicily on July 31 after the tech giant flew him out for its celebrity climate summit. 

MailOnline asked Buckingham Palace if the prince had travelled to Majorca directly from Sicily via private plane, but a spokesman refused to comment. 

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While in Sicily, Harry is said to have delivered an impassioned speech to other A-list names about the environment and humanitarianism while barefoot.

He is also understood to have stayed on a gas-guzzling superyacht moored near the exclusive Verdura Golf and Spa Resort where the climate change retreat was held.

Other guests were reported to include Leonardo DiCaprio, who runs his own environmental foundation, supermodel Naomi Campbell, fashion designer Stella McCartney and singer Harry Styles. 

Meghan's birthday followed four days later, but it is unknown whether or not Harry returned to the UK before joining his family or whether he met them in Ibiza.

Should Harry have flown directly to Ibiza from Palermo, via a private jet with five passengers, it would have put around a tonne of carbon into the atmosphere.

If he did return home from Palermo, a flight to the UK would have used up about 1.3 tonnes of CO2, while a flight from London to Ibiza would use about 0.8 tonnes.

A source told Majorca Daily Bulletin: 'No images have emerged of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Archie, who stayed at a villa well away from the cameras.

'They travelled with security personnel, and it is reported that local security forces were not needed.'

Ibiza holds a special place in Meghan's memories, as she first travelled there with a group of friends in 2016, including Misha Nonoo, before she met Prince Harry. 

Questions over how the couple travelled to the Spanish island are likely to reignite criticism the prince faced over his attendance at Camp Google late last month.

Sources told the Mail On Sunday that Google paid for a private jet and a helicopter to ferry Prince Harry from London to Palmero for the summit, as environmental groups blasted the meeting for hypocrisy.

While Buckingham Palace has refused to confirm whether or not the prince attended the event, sources said a plane was chartered to bring the royal to Palmero airport.

A helicopter then whisked him onwards to the luxury resort of Verdura for the summit, all paid for by Google.   

If Harry did travel via private jet, it would have put around three tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere - ten times more than going via commercial airliner.

In order to offset just the one-way plane ticket, Harry would need to plant around 190 trees, environmental group Trees for the Future said.

When pressed whether Harry had flown commercial or private, the CEO of Palermo airport Giovanni Scalia said: 'Being royalty you can guess which.'

Critics questioned why the tech giant had used transport with massive carbon footprints to arrive at a climate change event.

Italian media reported that 114 private jets were scheduled to land in Palermo during the summit, although it was not clear if they were all chartered for guests – dubbed the 'Greenerati'.

Google did not respond to requests for comment.

Harry has warned about the 'terrifying' effects of climate change on the world when he revealed this month that he and wife Meghan had decided to limit their family to two children. 

Harry is also believed to have stayed in a superyacht along with other 'VIP guests' during the summit.

According to experts, a 390ft super-yacht produces about 3.3 tons of damaging carbon dioxide each hour at sea by burning through around 200 gallons of fuel.

Vessels spotted during the Google Camp – an annual event launched by the tech giant's founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 2012 –included the 300ft Eos, owned by Expedia billionaire Barry Diller, and Infinity, the 290ft yacht belonging to former Google boss Eric Schmidt.

Mr Diller, 77, denied Harry, 34, had joined celebrities including Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom on his yacht, but praised the Prince's 'eloquent' speech about trying to save the planet by taking fewer selfies.

'He was saying there are many holiday destinations that because of Instagram and other things are getting trampled by people taking selfies, and these places... are overwhelmed with tourism,' Mr Diller told The Mail on Sunday.

'The principal argument he was making was the need to actually expand people's interest in places that are not so obviously 'selfie-ised'.

'It should be a goal to expand where people go for tourism, so these very few places with an enormous concentration of tourists would get some relief.'

Guests in Sicily included singer Katy Perry, who has appeared in Unicef films about combating climate change.

She arrived with fiance Orlando Bloom on board a £330million super yacht owned by Hollywood mogul David Geffen. She was reported to have been spotted in a Maserati SUV that does only 15 miles to the gallon.

Other guests were reported to include Leonardo DiCaprio, who runs his own environmental foundation, supermodel Naomi Campbell, fashion designer Stella McCartney and singer Harry Styles.

BBC presenter Andrew Neil used Twitter to pour scorn on the 'plutocracy gathered in a billionaire's hotspot'.

He tweeted: 'Scores of celebrities and the rich have arrived in Sicily for a Google conference.

'They came in 114 private jets and a flotilla of super yachts. The conference is on global warming.

'What is [the] conference going to achieve, other than a glamorous knees up for the rich?

'Also, and I may be out on a limb here, but I do believe there are scheduled flights and ferries to Sicily.'

Speaking at the time, Muna Suleiman, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: 'People should really think hard about the message they're sending out and the damage they're causing when chartering a private plane.

'It's obviously important to have voices from across the globe as part of the conversation around stopping climate breakdown, but there are ways to travel more responsibly.'

The annual event was created by Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin seven years ago to allow the rich and famous to meet in private.

Guest lists are confidential and attendees are banned from posting on social media.

They attend morning sessions about online privacy, politics, human rights and climate change. Afternoons are free for golf, spa treatments and relaxation.

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