Prince Andrew faces fresh questions over three-week jaunt to the Far East that was backed by defence firms (and funded by the taxpayer)

  • Think tank Royal United Services Institute subsidised Prince's expenses
  • The body has appointed Prince Andrew to its board of advisors
  • He was accompanied on his trip by his publicly funded security team

By Rebecca English


Questions: Prince Andrew ended trip with a visit to Eugenie in New York

Questions: Prince Andrew ended trip with a visit to Eugenie in New York

Prince Andrew’s continued royal globe-trotting is expected to come under fresh scrutiny as he returns from a three-week, 21,258-mile ‘official’ trip.

The Queen’s son, who was forced to give up his formal role as a UK trade ambassador after a string of scandals, has visited Indonesia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan and New York.

The trip came just weeks after a separate trip to Qatar, another of his favourite destinations.

The first leg of his tour of the Far East was funded in full by taxpayers, Buckingham Palace admitted last night. A one-way-business class ticket would cost at least £5,000.

In both Tokyo and New York his expenses – including travel and accommodation – were in part subsidised by a private defence think tank which has appointed him to its board of ‘International Advisors’, the Mail has learnt.

Founded in 1831 by the Duke of Wellington, the Royal United Services Institute is a respected independent, not-for-profit research body offering expert opinion on defence, security and terrorism.

But questions are sure to be asked as to how Andrew can reconcile his royal role and duties with representing an organisation, however independent, that is funded by private individuals, governments and corporations which include defence manufacturers.

Andrew flew out of the UK – accompanied by a team of round-the-clock, publicly-funded police bodyguards – on September 16 to Jakarta, where he stayed for three days.

The visit was, apparently, designed to promote ‘UK bilateral relations including in trade and investment, science and innovation as well as education’.

He attended a dinner at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, opened the new British Embassy and attended a launch of a Government-backed tourism initiative.


Details of the trip were not released until after his arrival, however, as Andrew is the only member of the royal family who refuses to publicise his foreign travel in advance.

Palace officials confirmed last night that this leg of his journey was approved by the Royal Visits Committee at the request of the Foreign Office, which means that all his travel costs, hotels and expenses are met by taxpayers out of the Queen’s Sovereign Grant.

One-way business class flights to Jakarta are just under £5,000.

His last official engagement was on the evening of September 19, after which Andrew disappeared for a three-day weekend.

Scrutiny: The Prince is the only member of the Royal Family who refuses to publish his travel detail in advance

Scrutiny: The Prince is the only member of the Royal Family who refuses to publish his travel detail in advance

Buckingham Palace said only that he spent the time ‘privately’.

He then reappeared in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi on September 23 for a two-day stay.

Most notable in a series of engagements, was a high-level RUSI conference discussing UK-Vietnam defence co-operation and strategic issues in South-east Asia. Palace officials say the prince covered the cost of this part of his trip personally. His final engagement was on September 24 – after which the prince apparently took himself off on holiday again for five days. Again, palace officials have declined to discuss his movements.

Andrew then turned up in Tokyo on Monday this week for another public, yet privately-funded, series of engagements. The main thrust of the prince’s visit was to attend a RUSI conference on British-Japanese security co-operation, where he shared the stage with Sir John Scarlett, former Director of the Security Intelligence Service (MI6), and Japanese premier, Shinzo Abe.

Japan is looking to spend billions on its defence as tensions rise with China and pressure comes from the US for the country to become more pro-active globally. As a result huge defence contracts are up for grabs.

According to well-placed sources, the prince also took the opportunity to spend some time privately with the Japanese royal family.

After initially refusing to discuss who was paying for the prince to be there, Buckingham Palace eventually admitted – after being challenged by the Mail – that RUSI had ‘made a proportionate contribution towards his costs’. The think-tank also funded him to fly on to New York on Wednesday this week, ostensibly to take part in further high-level discussions on its behalf.

His arrival in Manhattan coincided with that of his youngest daughter, Princess Eugenie, who moved to the city to work for a year for an online auction company. Andrew took Eugenie, 23, out for dinner on Wednesday night at ABC Kitchen. Buckingham Palace have refused to say when the prince is returning to the UK.

A spokesman for the prince said he was a ‘great admirer of the RUSI’s work’.

Sources stressed Andrew did not receive a salary as a member of its International Advisory Board and pointed out it ‘already has well-established links with the Royal Family, in the form of the Queen, who is its patron, and the Duke of Kent, its president’.

They also claimed that the prince – nicknamed Air Miles Andy for his love of travel – was taking scheduled flights throughout his trip.

A spokesman for RUSI said they had been keen to invite Andrew to join their advisory board as he ‘endorsed and consolidated RUSI’s status as a leading independent international think tank’.

However the latest revelations will, once again, shine an unwelcome spotlight on his activities.

In 2001 he became the UK’s Special Representative for Trade and Investment. But he was repeatedly accused of wasting taxpayers’ money. The final nail in the coffin was the furore over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, a US financier who has been jailed for soliciting prostitution from underage girls. In July 2011 Andrew announced he was standing down.

Matthew Sinclair of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘Taxpayers will wonder why they are paying for the Prince’s gallivanting across the globe, given that he is no longer a UK trade envoy. It is imperative that the Prince is open and transparent about exactly how he has spent taxpayers’ cash.’

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

UK-Vietnam defence co-operation ?????? It's unbelievable !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Get rid of that parasite !!!

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On parr with tony bliar this greed & glory figure

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Whether we like it or not, Britain is one of the world's leading weapons manufacturers and it would seem that Prince Andrew is helping to promote overseas sales of our products. The fact that he is making money out of it is hardly surprising, but for once I would imagine the public purse is actually aided by this fellow's travel rather than plundered. As for the secrecy of his encounters, I think that is understandable given the delicate nature of deals of this kind.

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So what does he actually contribute when he participates in these "high level" talks? What experience or knowledge does he have of security or counter-terrorism? Or is he is just plonked into these events by his hosts to impress the locals? I'll just bet that three day weekend involved a few G&Ts; and an exotic golf course.

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So sick of the useless royals

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He is an embarrassment to the country. He sells his connections to the Royal family, the accident of his birth. He is as corrupt as his wife and like the rest of the Royal parasites, should be paid off an sent packing.

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Just what use is this royal hanger on to this country. He needs to work like his parents and sister if he wants to be more liked, or go out and get a proper 9-5 job and give something back.

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here we go royals showing their true colours spending our hard earned money when it should be going on education hospitals places that need it

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I support the Royal Family. However air miles Andy makes me sometimes question my own support.

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