Meghan & Harry's Africa trip cost taxpayer £250k & was the most expensive royal tour last year, official accounts reveal

PRINCE Harry and Meghan Markle's last official royal tour set taxpayers back almost a quarter of a million pounds.

Official accounts released today by the Palace showed the couple had the most expensive trip out of any other royal last year.

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The high-profile trip, which saw the Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit South Africa, Botswana, Angola and Malawi last autumn, cost £245,643.

But the publicly-funded tour with baby Archie drew a different kind of attention when the couple launched a scathing attack on the media while secretly recording an explosive ITV documentary.

Meghan also hinted at the royal family being uncaring as she claimed in Harry and Meghan: An African Journey: "Not many people have asked if I'm OK."

She was also filmed being close to tears as she described herself feeling "vulnerable" while speaking about being a new mum.

The trip was also marred by Harry revealing Meghan had launched legal action against the Mail on Sunday.

In a statement on the pair's website, Harry claimed the couple were suffering from the "painful" impact of "relentless propaganda" against Meghan.

Referencing press coverage of his mother Princess Diana, the Duke said his "deepest fear is history repeating itself".

But the statement appeared to break unofficial protocol by discussing personal matters while in the middle of a Royal tour.

The pricey trip came just three months before the couple announced they would be stepping down as senior royals – making it their last official tour.

In January, Harry and Meghan revealed their bombshell 'Megxit' plan and are now living in Los Angeles where they recently signed a £112million Netflix deal.

But a senior source stressed there is no obligation for the couple to pay back any of the money spent on the royal tour, which was approved by the Foreign Office.

The source told the Daily Mail: "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex undertook over 20 engagements, bringing attention to a number of worthwhile causes, in particular, raising awareness of the work and the legacy of the Halo Trust.

"The visit, as an official visit funded by the Government, fulfilled the objectives that were set out for it.”

The official figures also revealed the total cost of official travel for the royal family in the last financial year was £5.3million.

This is a 15.2 per cent increase on last year's £4.6million, according to the Palace's official accounts.

The figure includes a two-day visit by Prince Charles to Oman to pay his condolences following the death of Sultan Qaboos bin Said costing £210,345.

Prince William and Kate Middleton's trip to Pakistan last year was the third most expensive of the year, costing £117,116.

And last July, Prince Andrew cost taxpayers £15,848 when he took a private jet to the Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland.

He was later dumped as a patron following his car-crash BBC interview in November over his friendship with paedo Jeffrey Epstein.

Anti-monarchist campaign group Republic said: "These figures don't disclose the daily abuse of money on shorter trips around the country, taking helicopters when they could go by car, driving when they could go by train.

"This is an abuse of public money far worse than the MPs' expenses scandal and it has to stop."

The official figures also revealed the Queen is refusing to take an annual pay rise as the UK suffers the lasting effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Her Majesty, 94, will receive an £85.9million Sovereign Grant next year — which includes £33million to repair her palaces.

But faced with a £35million shortfall in personal income due to coronavirus affecting Crown Estates rents and tourism, the grant will be frozen at £86.3million for 2021/22 and 2022/23.

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