Prince Charles branded a 'serial hypocrite' after flying less than 70 miles to attend polo match

The Prince of Wales has frequently spoken of the need to address climate change and has urged members of the public to cut their carbon footprint

Katie Grant
Friday 31 July 2015 08:59
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Prince Charles pictured at Guards Polo Club last weekend
Prince Charles pictured at Guards Polo Club last weekend

The Prince of Wales has been branded a “serial hypocrite” after it emerged that the heir to the throne– who prides himself on his green credentials – used a helicopter to fly less than 70 miles in order to attend a polo match.

Prince Charles has frequently spoken of the need to address climate change and has urged members of the public to cut their carbon footprint. In 2012 he declared “mankind must go green or die”, and earlier this year he encouraged Britons to mark Earth Hour by switching off lights to save energy and reflecting on “this extraordinary planet that sustains us all”.

But the Prince appears to be struggling to practice what he preaches. Last weekend, he instructed the royal helicopter, which is based at RAF Odiham, Hampshire, to fly 60 miles to his Gloucestershire retreat, Highgrove. He was then transported to Windsor Great Park, 68 miles away, where he stepped into a Jaguar for the short trip to Guards Polo Club.

After the Prince watched England beat South America in the Coronation Cup and presented the cup to the home team he was whisked back to Highgrove by the helicopter, which is understood to have then returned to its base.

It is estimated that the four trips racked up 256 air miles, yet the Prince could have driven to Windsor and back in 155 miles.

It would have taken the Prince, who had no other official engagements, about an hour and 45 minutes each way to travel by car.

The flight would burned around 200 gallons of aviation fuel, compared with four gallons of petrol.

“Charles is a serial hypocrite,” said Graham Smith, head of the pressure group Republic. “There is no justification for flying around in helicopters. You’re not going to convince a family of four to cut down on car use when a prince is flying around the country by helicopter.”

It is not the first time Charles, who is the UK president of the World Wildlife Fund, has had his environmental credentials called into question.

In 2010 the Prince embarked on a tour of the UK to promote sustainable living and emphasise the importance of walking and cycling. Green groups attacked the £50,000 tax-payer-funded on a nine-carriage royal train.

A statement released by Clarence House said: “The charitable engagement at Guards Polo Club was fitted into a packed diary at relatively short notice. The Prince had a number of personal commitments after a heavy week of public engagements and his mode of transport was chosen so that no one was let down and limited time available could be maximised.

“The Prince of Wales carries out over 650 public engagements a year. A number of factors are taken into consideration when deciding which form of travel to use... including security, punctuality and logistics.”

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