Meghan Markle’s $500,000 New York trip and her private jet to the US has led to accusations of ‘hypocrisy’ because of her anti-poverty campaigning and Prince Harry’s climate change crusade.
The Duchess of Sussex and her husband have used their first year of marriage to launch new projects across the UK to help disadvantaged British families.
But the ‘obscene’ cost and extraordinarily lavish nature of Meghan’s trip to New York has caused some anger.
And the Duchess’ decision to fly by private jet has also upset environmentalists because the couple have also campaigned on climate change.
A spokesman for Friends of the Earth told MailOnline: ‘Private air travel obviously comes with a huge carbon footprint. Perhaps for future trips the Duchess could consider less carbon intensive modes of travel. We invite her to set a good climate trend by flying less’.
Harry and Meghan (pictured in Australia last year) have spoken on environmental issues including climate change but the Duchess has been slammed for flying to the US by private jet
The cost of Meghan’s New York baby shower and her decision to travel by private jet has been criticised on social media
On their trip to Australasia last year Prince Harry said: ‘It is going to take every single one of us to stop the clock on the destruction of our planet, and time is not on our side. The standard we walk past is the standard we accept’.
Prince William too was outspoken about the need to combat climate change during his sit down with Sir David Attenborough at a summit in Davos, Switzerland, last month.
The Duke of Cambridge urged the global elite to tackle urgent environmental issues to preserve the planet for future generations.
Speaking last November, the Prince of Wales also condemned the destruction of the planet, saying ‘businesses and individuals need to get better at recycling to sort out the mess and save the planet for our grandchildren’.
Speaking at a Waste to Wealth summit in central London, Charles said: ‘We are the first generation to understand, in full and terrifying scientific detail, that we are destroying our world. And we are the last to be able to do something about it.’
Prince Harry, pictured planting a tree in Fiji, said recently: ‘It is going to take every single one of us to stop the clock on the destruction of our planet’
Yet Meghan chose to fly to New York on a private plane with her friend Amal Clooney rather than travel on one of the many trans-Atlantic commercial flights between the US and UK each day.
One critic tweeted: ‘Meghan & Harry are being billed as Humanitarians. They are Patrons of charities for the disadvantaged. The obscene cost of this 5 day trip is utter hypocrisy. Not to mention the carbon footprint of taking a private jet’.
Geoffrey Downes said on Twitter: ‘That trip cost half a million. No wonder there are anti-royalists out there when we’ve got thousands of homeless people on our streets. Thoughtless’.
Kensington Palace declined to comment on the criticism.
The Duchess of Sussex flew back to the UK by private jet with Clooney today after enjoying a lavish baby shower with celebrity friends in New York City.
Seven-months-pregnant Meghan spent several days in the Big Apple with A-listers including Serena Williams before boarding the flight home on Wednesday evening.
The duchess, 37, celebrated the impending arrival of her child in what is reportedly the most expensive hotel room in the US – the Penthouse Suite in the five-star Mark Hotel, which costs a reported $75,000 dollars (£57,000) per night.
The glamorous venue, in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, overlooks Central Park and describes itself as the city’s ‘most boldly lavish hotel’.
Meghan’s trip to New York to see her friends, who thre her a baby shower, is said to have cost up to $500,000
Mile-high Meghan: The Duchess of Sussex, circled, was pictured boarding a private jet on Wednesday evening bound for the UK, after spending five nights in New York. A one-way trip on the plane is believed to cost a staggering $125,000
Meghan, wearing a black jumpsuit, baseball cap, and tan coat, was pictured leaving the hotel’s gold-and-black awning before video footage captured her appearing to board a Gulfstream G450 plane on a snow-covered runway.
The mother-to-be will resume royal duties by joining husband Harry on a three-day tour of Morocco on Saturday.
Pop superstar Beyonce and rapper husband Jay-Z congratulated the duchess on her pregnancy after the couple won a Brit Award.
Beyonce posted a picture on social media of the couple posing in front of a regal painting of Meghan dressed in a tiara, pearls and royal finery, with the caption: ‘Congrats on your pregnancy! We wish you so much joy.’
Joining human rights lawyer Clooney and tennis superstar Williams in New York was Abigail Spencer, who starred with Meghan in the US TV drama Suits.
Canadian stylist Jessica Mulroney, whose daughter Ivy was a bridesmaid at Meghan and Harry’s wedding, was also there.
Other celebrities included harpist Erin Hill, fashion designer Misha Nonoo and television presenter Gayle King, all close friends of the duchess.
Activities during the week included visiting the Met Breuer museum of modern and contemporary art and dinner at Ralph Lauren’s restaurant the Polo Bar, according to media reports.
Travel for the trip was privately funded, Kensington Palace said.
Meghan is preparing to give birth in late April or early May.
Meghan faces £70 tax bill to cover extravagant gifts she brought back to UK on her private jet
Step aside! As well as the flowers, staff at the hotel were also seen wheeling in a large box housing a £300 ($379) travel crib, which may well have been a gift for the Duchess
Meghan Markle’s New York baby shower cost a fortune but the Duchess of Sussex also faces a significant tax bill to cover the extravagant gifts she carried back to Britain on her private jet.
VIP guests arrived at the exclusive The Mark Hotel in on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, overlooking Central Park, laden with bag after bag of expensive gifts.
In total these are likely to be worth thousands or even tens of thousands of pounds – and Meghan would have to pay UK import duty on almost every one.
For example the Trek bicycle given to her as a baby shower gift is worth at least $609 [£470] could be subject to duty of around £50 because of a 14 per cent tax rate on bicycles from outside the EU.
Meghan must also pay 2.5% duty on the £300 crib, around £7.50. She would need to pay £2.70 duty on her £110 mandarin tree, £4.25 on her £170 Away suitcase and £5 on her £155 candy floss machine.
Only a handful of the gifts she received have been revealed and those alone will probably cost her hundreds of pounds to import.
Any item worth more £620 [$820] is subject to higher rates of import duty in the UK.
For example high value jewellery including items containing diamonds are taxed at 20 per cent of its total value.