SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Four helicopter flights for Charles to watch polo

Prince Charles warned in 2009 that there were ‘less than 100 months’ for the world to avoid irreversible damage due to climate change.

But as the deadline approaches, he appears to be taking a relaxed approach to saving the planet. I hear the heir to the throne used the royal helicopter to take him to a polo match at the weekend in an extravagant round-trip that will have cost thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money and racked up a massive carbon footprint.

The Prince, who declared in 2012 that ‘mankind must go green or die’, booked the Sikorsky chopper, which is based at RAF Odiham, Hampshire. It flew the 60-mile journey to Charles’s Gloucestershire retreat, Highgrove, picked him up and took him the 68 miles to Windsor Great Park. There he transferred to a Jaguar for the short hop to Guards Polo Club to watch England defeat South America in the Coronation Cup.

Extravagant: Prince Charles reportedly used the royal helicopter to take him to a polo match at Windsor Great Park at the weekend. Above, the prince steps on to the field to stomp the divots during half-time

Extravagant: Prince Charles reportedly used the royal helicopter to take him to a polo match at Windsor Great Park at the weekend. Above, the prince steps on to the field to stomp the divots during half-time

Travelling in style: The Prince disembarks the royal helicopter during a day of engagements in 2014

Travelling in style: The Prince disembarks the royal helicopter during a day of engagements in 2014

The trophy is sponsored by whisky brand Royal Salute, whose parent company, Pernod Ricard, is a generous donor to royal charities.

After Charles had presented the cup to the England team, who included royal chums Luke and Mark Tomlinson, he hopped into the Jaguar before boarding the helicopter back to Highgrove. It is understood to have then returned to its base.

The four trips will have racked up 256 air miles, while the Prince could have driven to Windsor and back in 155 miles.

It would have taken about an hour and 45 minutes each way by car for Charles, who had no other official engagements.

By road, the journey could have used less than four gallons of petrol, while the four flights would have burnt an estimated 200 gallons of aviation fuel.

The royal helicopter is paid for out of the £40 million Sovereign Grant given to the Queen each year by the Government.

The cash comes from the profits of the Crown Estate, which were previously handed to the Treasury.

A Clarence House spokesman says the engagement ‘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.

‘A number of factors are taken into consideration when deciding which form of travel to use for each engagement, including security, punctuality and logistics.’

Weedy Twilight star Robert Pattinson is taking drastic steps to beef up for his role as a doomed explorer in The Lost City Of Z. The Londoner, 29, has enlisted trainer Harley Pasternak to help him play Henry Costin, a former gym instructor in the British Army. ‘Rob’s attitude to his body has changed a lot,’ Harley tells me. ‘He has focused and is giving his fitness 100 per cent. He’s becoming more muscular and eats five times a day.’ Life was so much easier when he survived on blood as a movie vampire.

James Bond might be a demon at the card table, but he’s hopeless at backing racehorses. Former 007 Sir Roger Moore dutifully placed a bet on a colt named after himself at Glorious Goodwood this week. Alas, despite starting at 5-1, it finished unplaced. ‘Drat,’ said the two-legged Sir Rodge. ‘There goes my 50 quid. I think he’s still running.’

Rod's girl rues her rude tat

With a dolphin on her ankle, Samantha Cameron has helped make tattoos fashionable across the social spectrum. But Rod Stewart’s daughter Kimberly has found they can be a lasting pain.

She had ‘Daddy’s little girl loves Cisco’ inked a long way below her belly button while dating U.S. musician Cisco Adler. Now the daughter of Rod’s first wife, Alana, has come to rue its location.

‘All my other friends were getting tattoos,’ says Kimberly, 35, who has five or six designs on her body. ‘I don’t regret any of my tattoos — but that, unfortunately, is an area where I just don’t want it any more.’

Forget the cocaine and call girls, it’s Lord Sewel’s cigarette smoking that has shocked fellow peers. Once a regular puffer in the Bishop’s Bar, the former Deputy Speaker had made a song and dance of giving up. ‘We all congratulated him and he seemed thrilled that he had broken the habit,’ one crossbencher says. ‘So seeing him photographed with a ciggie has come as a huge surprise — never mind the bra.’  

Actress ditches vegan fad

Change of heart: Geraldine James

Change of heart: Geraldine James

Ardent vegetarians always claim that abandoning meat is good for you, but veteran actress Geraldine James has had a change of heart over health fears.

‘At the beginning of last year I got bored and wanted to do something different, so I went vegan for three months and gave up alcohol, caffeine, dairy, wheat and meat,’ says the Calendar Girls star, 65. ‘It was fantastic — I loved it. Then my doctor said: “You need to eat meat, actually.” When you’re in your 60s, you need more protein.’

But will Geraldine, who appeared in The Jewel In The Crown, be brave enough to tell outspoken veggie Joanna Lumley, 69? 

Here's one to enrage touchy former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond. Top Treasury mandarin Sir Nicholas Macpherson, who became Salmond’s bete noire in last year’s referendum campaign, has received a vote of thanks from George Osborne. 

Sir Nicholas was credited by some with saving the union, after he released official advice rejecting the SNP’s idea of a post-independence currency union with the UK. New accounts reveal that he received a bonus last year of as much as £20,000, taking his pay to a tidy £200,000.

Salmond wasn’t the only one disappointed by Macpherson. The Public Administration Committee said his advice ‘should not have been published’, as it compromised his ‘perceived impartiality’.

As if the problems at Calais weren’t bad enough, visitors to France run the risk of bumping into former Tory MP Matthew Parris in his ‘saggy old Y-fronts’. The columnist was taking a sleeper train to the Italian border this week with his civil partner, government adviser Julian Glover, when nature called. ‘I can’t abide pyjamas, don’t take silk dressing gowns on holiday and sleep in pants,’ Parris admits. ‘I rather thrill to the furtive dash down a deserted, fluorescently lit corridor.’ Glover, apparently, was ‘outraged’. 

Borgias star: Nudity is a rite of passage

Hollywood star Hayley Atwell recently declared that she refused to perform nude scenes even when the director insisted. But her fellow British actress Holliday Grainger is more obliging.

‘Getting your breasts out is like a rite of passage,’ Great Expectations star Holliday tells me. The 27-year-old, who had to disrobe in TV historical drama The Borgias, says: ‘I don’t mind because when you’re doing it, it’s actually not sexual in any way.

‘I distance myself by imagining I’m a toddler stripping off — not sexual in any way whatsoever.’

British actress Holliday Grainger
The actress had to disrobe in TV historical drama The Borgias

Obliging: British actress Holliday Grainger, left, had to disrobe in TV historical drama The Borgias, right


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