The extravagance of Prince Charles, who was recently accused of sending his own bed and artworks from his bedroom to a friend’s house where he was staying a few nights, has long been grist to the mills of his critics.
Now a row over the cost of Charles’ trip to Australia earlier this year is threatening to take the shine off Harry and Meghan’s ongoing tour Down Under, after it was revealed that Charles took a 13-strong entourage on the trip, including one attendant described as a ‘traveling yeoman.’
The story has been doing the rounds in Australia this weekend after the costs of Charles and Camilla’s trip were released. The Australian state was responsible for paying some of the direct costs of hosting Charles and his entourage, and critics say the inclusion of a traveling yeoman added to the $200,000 bill.
The traveling yeoman, incidentally, is a kind of clothing manager—he has been described as a member of staff who ensures “the right clothes are in the right place at all times.”
It should be noted, however, that the entourage also included a personal assistant, a dresser, a butler, a valet, and a hairdresser, according to Australia's News.com.au.
Michael Cooney, national director of the Australian Republic Movement, questioned why the Australian government had paid for his entourage when farmers in rural regions including Dubbo, New South Wales, which Meghan and Harry visited last week, are struggling with a devastating drought.
Speaking to News.com, he said, “The government should explain to drought stricken Dubbo farmers why we could afford to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars before Prince Charles had even arrived in Australia. Why did the government force Australians to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring butlers, valets, and traveling yeomen?”
Charles has previously been known to take an official sketch artist on tour with him to record his visits for posterity.
It was also revealed in September that the Australian taxpayers were landed with a $13,000 bill for a private trip Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall made to see an old friend, billionaire hedge-fund owner Sir Michael Hintze, at his home in Gundagai, around 400 km southwest of Sydney.
It was initially reported that the private visit would come at “no cost to the taxpayer,” but it was later revealed that the Australian government did indeed contribute towards the costs of the Royal entourage’s stay during the excursion.
A freedom of information request revealed that the cash was spent on putting up Prince Charles’ 13-strong entourage, who stayed in a hotel, while the Duke and Duchess stayed in Hintze’s property.
Prince Charles has long been accused of extravagance, in contrast to his parents, the queen and Prince Philip, who are notoriously parsimonious to the extent that they keep breakfast cereal in Tupperware boxes to prevent it going stale.
Still, it’s good to see Charles is at least trying to economize; his entourage this year was significantly smaller than in 2012, when he was accompanied by 18 members of staff.