The British press was quick to criticize Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after the royal couple were photographed boarding a private jet in the south of France last week, reportedly making their fourth gas-guzzling journey in just 11 days.
But Elton John jumped to the family’s defense in a lengthy Instagram post on Monday, explaining that he paid for their flight to his home in Nice.
The singer wrote that “to maintain a high level of much-needed protection, we provided them with a private jet flight,” adding that he ensured the flight was carbon neutral by donating to Carbon Footprint.
He noted that Princess Diana, the deceased mother of Prince Harry, was one of his greatest friends, and that he and his husband, David Furnish, just wanted to give the family a private holiday at his villa.
“I feel a profound sense of obligation to protect Harry and his family from the unnecessary press intrusion that contributed to Diana’s untimely death,” John wrote. “After a hectic year continuing their hard work and dedication to charity, David and I wanted the young family to have a private holiday inside the safety and tranquility of our home.”
The superstar called on the press to “cease these relentless and untrue assassinations” on Prince Harry and Meghan.
Prince Harry made headlines around the world when he declared that he and Meghan would limit themselves to having two royal children in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint.
“Surely, being as intelligent as we all are, or as evolved as we all are supposed to be, we should be able to leave something better behind for the next generation,” the prince told renowned primatologist Jane Goodall in a Vogue interview.
Prince Harry has recently faced criticism for his use of private jets, including flying one to a July climate-change summit in Sicily, where he stood barefoot and spoke passionately about the need to protect the planet.
According to progressive think tank The Institute for Policy Studies, a single private jet flight emits more greenhouse gases than the average American does in a year.
Labour MP Teresa Pearce, who called on the couple to “lead by example,” was one of the first to accuse the couple of environmental hypocrisy. Television personality Piers Morgan followed suit, posting a picture of the couple boarding a plane on Twitter and writing “jeez... these two ‘eco-warriors’ are something else. Beyond parody.”
Ken Wharfe, who once served as Princess Diana’s personal protection officer, told The Sun that “frankly it’s hypocritical. Harry can’t be preaching about the catastrophic effects of climate change while jetting around the world on a private plane.” He added that Princess Diana, William, and Harry “always flew commercial.”