How much did Prince William & Kate’s pandemic tour cost just for the Royal Train?

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit Communities Across The UK

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Pandemic Train Tour To Nowhere is already done. It didn’t even last 48 hours, but my, how glorious it was. Y’all know what I think – I think Boris Johnson’s government gleefully sent out Tweedlebald and Tweedlebuttons as a distraction. What’s up for debate is whether or not BoJo knows that Will and Kate will just make asses out of themselves wherever they are, or whether he actually directed them to cause this massive kerfuffle. Over the course of 48 hours, the Keenbridges pissed off all of Scotland, Welsh health ministers, overworked and underpaid healthcare workers, and probably thousands of British citizens. And all of this mess came at such a high cost too!! Newsweek had a shady AF article about how insane it is that these two idiots took the Royal Train, a rarely-used nine-carriage behemoth of taxpayer-funded elitism.

Prince William and Kate Middleton’s Royal Train tour of Britain will cost an “obscene” amount, campaigners say, after past trips carried a $30,000 price tag. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been touring the U.K. to thank frontline workers for putting their lives on the line during the coronavirus pandemic. However, they met criticism in Scotland and Wales where they were accused of undermining a public health advice warning against unnecessary journeys.

Now anti-monarchy campaign group Republic has highlighted the cost of taking the Royal Train, which ordinarily comes from public money and in June last year cost around $30,000 for a similar journey.

Graham Smith, chief executive of Republic, told Newsweek: “Why are they taking the train? It’s just a slightly ridiculous mode of transport to have their own train in the first place. They could have gone up by car or taken a scheduled train which would have cost a fraction of that.”

Royals regularly take the Royal Train to Scotland and when Queen Elizabeth II visited Edinburgh in June, 2019, it cost around $30,000 (£22,696) in public money. Other trips last year included a journey by the Prince of Wales from Kemble, in the southwest of England, to Carlisle, in Scotland, at a cost of $28,000 (£20,822).

William and Kate’s tour met criticism in both Scotland and Wales, with Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething suggesting they may have undermined the public health message not to travel. Royal sources told Newsweek the journeys were permitted under guidelines because they were working. The Scottish rules permit cross-border “travel for work or an activity associated with seeking employment, or to provide voluntary or charitable services, but only where that cannot be done from your home.”

Smith told Newsweek: “They didn’t need to go at all. Whether there is a technical breach of the law or not, I think there is a breach of the spirit of the law. They’ve said they were there for work so it’s lawful but it’s not work they had to do. It’s essentially publicity work for them and of no public benefit, so they would have been better to stay at home and keep the train in its siding. They could have spent £22,000 on helping a community or giving someone a job who would earn that much in the whole year.”

[From Newsweek]

Actually, the anti-monarchy group is lowballing the cost – if the Queen takes the Royal Train to Scotland at a cost of £22,696, then how much extra does it cost to then loop the train back down to Yorkshire and Manchester, then ride down to Wales, then stop in at Berkshire and then go to Windsor Castle? My guess is *just* the cost of running the train for 48 hours is probably closer to £100K, probably much more. All because Kate had never been on the Royal Train (and Meghan had) and so Kate demanded a choo-choo ride for Christmas! That’s seriously all this was. A “landmark” pandemic tour, billed to the taxpayer, so Will and Kate could perform their keenness in front of cameras. Maskless.

Also: Katie Nicholl at Vanity Fair did some summaries of the tour and she noted that Will and Kate “were granted the Queen’s permission to use the train, the most expensive form of royal travel, in order to carry out the country-wide program….Travelling by royal train… is a rare honor. The distinctive burgundy-liveried nine carriage train is rarely used because of the cost of running it.” Why did the Queen say yes? Was William incandescent with rage at the thought of his wife never having a chance to ride on the royal choo-choo?

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting Cardiff Castle to meet local univ

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Holy Trinity Church of England First School

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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53 Responses to “How much did Prince William & Kate’s pandemic tour cost just for the Royal Train?”

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  1. Noki says:

    On this tour Kate finally wasnt giving William those googly eyes. I know they have now been together for two decades,but for a change she also didnt seem as wrapped up in him as before.

    • Amelie says:

      Did she ever do googly eyes at William though in public? She did seem more into him in the early years of their marriage and during their early tours. But it’s been quite a few years now that I feel like she doesn’t seem as enamored by him (especially since all the stories of Rose came out).

      Now Harry and Meghan, they haven’t been together as long and they still look at each other like they’re the best things that happened to each other since sliced bread.

      • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

        William NEVER looked at Kate that way (in public anyway). The MOST “affectionate” things we *ever* saw was a hand barely touching the small of her back (usually to push her where he wanted her to be), or the handholding on the Australian Ambassador’s residence grounds on that tour (where she did her little happy dance-kick).

        She’s always looked at him like a love-sick puppy, just wanting a scrap of affection from him…not *as* much lately, but I did see it on this tour. He put his hand on her back, lightly it looked, at one of the train stations, maybe she got all hot and bothered by it.

      • Nic919 says:

        There were still pics of her staring at him while he is looking elsewhere on this trip. Maybe it wasn’t as googly eyed as in the past but he still basically ignores her. When he gave a speech at one stop he basically walked away and didn’t bother to check where she was. There is just a general lack of attentiveness to his spouse that is obvious compared to all the other couples, not just Harry and Meghan.

  2. Alexandria says:

    More Graham Smith quotes please!

    This tour is only for PR and for Kate to get another order. Just wait. I get why they used the train because it’s easier to sanitize that when it’s their lodging and transportation. But they did not have to make this trip in the first place. They’re not essential!

    • Sofia says:

      Oh this trip was absolutely for PR. They really could have done this trip over Zoom or keep it to England if they really wanted to leave the house. And then do a bigger tour of all 4 countries (NI included too) and possibly Ireland too in the Summer.

    • Becks1 says:

      This trip was 100% about PR, getting their numbers up at the end of the year, and Kate getting to ride on the royal train.

      • windyriver says:

        For Kate, I’d say it’s a 50-50 split between multiple opportunities to get her picture taken, and finally getting her ride on the royal train, after Meghan got her trip right after marrying Harry. People around her may care about getting the numbers up (though really, those numbers are always so pathetic anyway, why even bother) – but I doubt Kate personally gaf.

  3. Aidevee says:

    The whole thing just smacks of Let Them Eat Cake. I live in England and have spent the morning trying to work out how I can meet my family in Edinburgh outdoors on a chilly beach for 1 hour of on 23rd December. We will be seeing our little niece who we’ve only met once because she was born in lockdown. Well probs end up driving for four hours, having a sandwich and a wave and then heading home. No royal train, fancy coats or covid-belching brass bands for us!

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Me too – I was supposed to be spending New Year in Edinburgh (at a hotel) but its not looking like I will be allowed to travel (am in London). Hopefully Edinburgh drops to Tier 2 soon.

  4. Digital Unicorn says:

    Re: the costs, I think the devolved parliaments will get stiffed for some of the costs for this COVID Express Tour: The Royal Edition PR stunt. The RH won’t pay for it, the taxpayer will be. Which will include Top CEO’s clothes, hair, makeup etc.. as Chuck expenses them.

  5. PEARL GREY says:

    “ It’s essentially publicity work for them and of no public benefit.”

    This sums up the Cambridges entire time as working royals perfectly. Pure PR designed to help nobody but themselves. And at unnecessary cost too. The landmark Super-spreader Royal Tour was a flop. They better hope there isn’t a spike in infections.

    • Pink says:

      Doesn’t this just sum up the entire royal family full stop? There is no benefit to them ron top to bottom let’s be honest.

  6. Belli says:

    Imagine if this had been a virtual tour.

    They could have seen and thanked more people and places using video calls by taking out the travel time. It would have been cheaper. They wouldn’t have broken any rules or put anyone at risk by not wearing masks.

    They could have even had a website where you could follow an animated royal train around the country and click on each of the stops to find out about the work those places are doing, meaning more publicity for those places.

    • Sofia says:

      This is a much better idea. Once again, people on CB having better ideas for free compared to the people who are paid to do this.

      • Lorelei says:

        Every day! Every. single. day. someone here on CB has a more efficient, effective idea than whatever they’re actually doing. Either the staff doesn’t read comment sections (they really should, as part of their job) or don’t want to bother doing any more than they have to, but it’s like clockwork. They do something expensive, wasteful, useless, etc. and within an hour there are comments here with far easier, more cost-effective and impactful ways they could have accomplished it instead.

    • Sarah says:

      This is a fantastic idea. This is why they need to employ people who can think conceptually and not just keep doing more of what’s happened before.

      • Pétulia says:

        Instead of that they surrounded by yes men with no critical thinking. I wonder if any of these criticism get back to them

    • LittlePenguin says:

      This is a great idea. So many places refuse to try something new. What they powers that be forget is the world was changing even before Covid and now I don’t even want to see frivolous garbage like this train trip. This could have been done up all festively for Christmas and even involved people sending in their own messages for everyone to see/read/watch

    • Implicit says:

      Belli, nothing short of brilliant! Love the virtual train. Even the kids could’ve been involved it could’ve been centered around the 5 questions and dealing with the mental
      Health crisis kids and teenagers are experiencing right now on lockdown. SHE DOESNT CARE

  7. DS9 says:

    Thanking front line workers by breathing on children….

  8. Bibi says:

    This tour only highlights how non-essential their “work” is, how embarrassing. Meg & Harry are rolling of laughter in their living room carpet on while it’s a beautiful sunny day out in california, and keeping their mouth shut

  9. Jezebel says:

    I hate this. The travel method, the cost, the NOT WEARING MASKS. ALL of it was astoundingly dumb, and we wouldn’t expect anything less. But not just from these two. From the whole lot. From the queen to the Fab4-who-fellout to the 17495338186 “minor royals” living in all the palaces and estates as posh public grifters. They’re all hypocrites and the public tide of sentiment for the monarchy after Liz goes should be very interesting. The only thing that annoys me is that even in other countries where the monarchy is done, it’s not like they have to give us their ill gotten gains and look at rentals on Zillow. No. They’ll all still be rich AF for generations. Barf.

  10. BayTampaBay says:

    QEII is cutting back staff because Royal tourism is down and these two clowns spent at least $30,000.00 on a two-day train ride. What gives? Are they really that stupid?

  11. Osty says:

    Unnecessary waste of money which could have benefited the NHS they claimed to have gone to cheer. They could have used that money to organise a cooking program like they did with mary berry last yr and donated the food all over london etc . Thankfully pple called them out for their errors, their egos etc so much that the media cant even hide it
    Anyways I don’t trust the Republican guy, he is a hypocrite who put the only royals earning their own money on a higher standard than he does the royals he supposedly wants to abolish. I believe he is a royalist pretending to be a Republican

  12. Becks1 says:

    I agree that 30k sounds way too low -I was seeing numbers more like 150k for the entire trip (just for the train) – and honestly, it was just so stupid. Generally speaking, the train does make sense for a trip like this – they didn’t have to get hotels for two nights, they were able to travel overnight, their staff was on board with them (I’m assuming?) but given the whole PANDEMIC thing going on, it was a horrible idea. And that’s just the royals – the royal rota followed along, so they were all out there possibly spreading/infecting, the photographers, all the local people who came out – it was such a bad idea. We wont ever hear if there are cases arising out of these visits though.

    If Kate was dead set on riding the royal train, IMO, the way to do it would have been in the spring – maybe May or June, heck maybe July (although that would interfere with her vacations) – do a week long trip, even with the kids, and showcase that the UK is open for tourism. Showcase some smaller towns that non UK people may not be familiar with, local traditions, etc. Kind of like what the Spanish royals did this past summer. This visit had that feel to it anyway (roasting marshmallows??) so just go all out and show people that the UK is open again, when its safe to do so.

    As it stands – given the overall circumstances, this trip was a horrible idea and while some of the people they visited may have enjoyed it, at what cost?

    • Bohemian Angel says:

      Becks1 that would have been a great idea, there are many lesser known towns and small cities here in the UK that they could have highlighted for tourism, starting with Kent, typically known as the garden of England which is absolutely beautiful in the spring/summer. They could have highlighted Bath a bit more which is one of the most elegant lovely cities I have seen and so much more areas. I would have totally not been bothered by a trip like this as opposed to this little self serving pr stunt they just pulled!
      They really have the worst people advising/working for them.

  13. Seraphina says:

    So let me get this straight, the taxpayer is paying FFK and FFQC to visit certain locations so that they may make the taxpayer feel good?? Do I have that right?

    • Betsy says:

      Considering these two boobs can never just do regular royal work, they always have to do some extra and useless, and now, possibly actively harmful.

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      No, Seraphina…you have it backwards. It’s to make the FFK and FFQC feel good (and get those end of the yr. nos. up) and try and show how (un)necessary they really are.

      • Seraphina says:

        Thank you for the clarification (TheOG). That makes more sense! Oh the world these two nitwits live in.

  14. Cecilia says:

    The restrictions clearly state that cross border travel may occur only if it can not be done from home. They could have had a thank you series through zoom and saved us all of this ridiculousness. Instead they decided to take the most expensive form of travel during a recession and risk spreading a virus that the very people they want to thank, are trying to contain. Not to mention the fact that they undermined the rules of the queens government. This whole thing was a joke

  15. ABritGuest says:

    I saw an idea on SM about how they could have done a virtual train tour with different ‘stops’ including virtual meetings with front line workers, food banks, schools etc in cities across the U.K. on zoom. Could have covered more ground, might have had more focus on the orgs & people they met & avoided this backlash. Could have been quite fun& interactive

    But guess the press pictures & royal need to be ‘seen’ is more important.

    And that family picture? They all just looked soo stiff and bored. Fab coloured coat on Camilla though.

    • Amy Too says:

      That would have been a great idea. Like a Santa tracker where you can watch his sleigh fly from place to place, you can click on the different towns and watch a clip about what’s there and why it’s special, etc, but with the royal train, instead. They could have had a little “Santa’s toy shop” page where you can “purchase” a donation to the various charities, and maybe when you donate you get some kind of exclusive virtual sticker or emoji or whatever to post to social media or send to someone in an email. Like if you donate a certain amount of money to X charity, you get access to a virtual Christmas card that has a picture of the animated royal train chugging through some scenic valley. They could set it all up to be very Christmasy and festive, with little jingle bell sounds as the train chugs along the UK virtually.

    • Jay says:

      I think that no matter how many social media managers they hire, the Cambridges (and royal family generally) have a really old school mindset. The idea of a virtual tour is great, but requires creativity and a willingness to try something different.

      They need somebody who hears “tour” and doesn’t immediately jump to the option of “a private train”, who would realize how out of touch that would look, but they would also need to listen to that person. It seems like they want to keep doing exactly what they always have, but layer on the special effects. It won’t work.

      I’d love to see a virtual tour of Anmer as they decorate, or show us the grounds, or something that emphasizes both “stay home” but would also get actual engagement. Everyone loves a house tour! There could be a suggested donation to NHS or another worthy cause.

      Get the kids to make a gingerbread house or ornaments as a “craft along”, make snowmen with the children and get people to vote on names or which one looks more like William:) …the possibilities are endless.

  16. Golly Gee says:

    Boris isn’t the only one benefiting. This is also deflecting from the negative PR Charles has been getting from this season of The Crown.

    • Tessa says:

      I don’t think it is totally deflecting to Charles’ chagrin. Charles should have been nicer to Harry and Meghan and Archie.

  17. William and Kate were humiliated by the countries they visited. They should’ve known when they’re not wanted. Timing is everything.

    • February-Pisces says:

      Earlier this year when they wanted to visit Australia during the wild fires, they didn’t want them either. It’s cost the visiting country too much, and Australia didn’t want to pay to embiggen these two, especially when that money was needed elsewhere.

  18. Amy Bee says:

    Usually they make these trips by helicopter (which is expensive also) so this train ride was all about William and Kate righting a wrong in their eyes which was Meghan getting to travel on the train before them. There was absolutely no reason for the Royal Train to be put in use and by using the train it meant that Northern Ireland was left off the tour.

    • Becks1 says:

      Or when Kate did her “5 Big questions” tour she took a private plane and a helicopter. Of course the costs of that are ridiculous, but it does show that the train for this trip was just so Kate could take the royal train.

      • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

        And yet we heard NOTHING, no outcry, no screams of “hypocrite” for using a PRIVATE plane AND a heli for the FFQC.

    • Lorelei says:

      ITA that it’s probably been eating away at Kate this entire time that Meghan had been on the train before she had, but the funniest part to me is that I doubt Meghan even cared that much? It’s just a train, and I don’t see why she would have been super impressed with it.

      I’m sure she was excited to do a solo trip with the Queen so soon after the wedding, but the form of transportation they used probably wasn’t really even on her radar. Kate is finally like “Ha! See I went on the train too!” and Meghan has probably already forgotten all about it. Lol

  19. jaylee says:

    Will is looking rough. He needs to schedule an appointment with Kates freeze and plump person. They remind me of two stale hunks of white bread in nice coats.

  20. Leanne says:

    Why does it cost so much to operate this train?!?! Does anyone know exactly why?!

    • Lauren says:

      I can imagine it having to do with the fact that it is rarely used. They need to select a route and move other trains that usually use those lines at those times around and that cost money, time and requires a lot of planning. Imagine doing that on multiple days and for multiple cities. Add security, cleaning, service people etc. Yikes. Closer to 100k definitely.

  21. (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

    “Tweedlebald and Tweedlebuttons”. OMG…Kaiser!!!!! *dead* 😄 😄 😄
    These are the BEST names yet!

    • SomeChick says:

      Came here to say just that! And I love the virtual train trip ideas posted above. Or even just doing it post-pandemic. People are already receiving the vaccine – happy for y’all brits. It’s going to be a mess over here I’m sure.