Royal Family `flayed for Countess of Wessex`s chopper trip`

Wife of the Queen`s youngest son used a chopper just for travelling a mile.

Last Updated: Sep 25, 2010, 16:04 PM IST

London: Britain`s Royal Family has come under criticism, after it emerged that the wife of the Queen`s youngest son Prince Edward used a chopper just for travelling a mile, a journey which would have taken four minutes by car.

The Countess of Wessex, 45-year-old Sophie, was flown from a school in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, 1.1 miles down the road to a care home during a round of official visits this week, the `Daily Express` reported.

After flying from Bagshot, in Surrey, Sophie`s first visit was to Grange Park School for children with autism spectrum conditions in Wrotham, Kent. A patron of the National Autistic Society, she then flew 43.6 miles to a second engagement at St Mary`s School in Bexhill.

Prince Edward`s wife rounded off the day with a helicopter trip down the road to the Royal British Legion Mais House, a care home for former servicemen and women, also in Bexhill, the report said.

Her trip was criticised by environmental campaigners. Spencer Fitz-Gibbon of the Green Party said: "We would want to encourage the Royal Family to pay close attention to its carbon footprint, not least because of the value of the example that can be set."

However, a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said "every option" had been looked into before using the helicopter.

She said: "Two of the visits were schools and it was decided to use a helicopter to get her to the second venue on time. There would have been no other way of doing it within the time constraints."

PTI