The cost of Prince Charles of Wales' work for the United Kingdom increased almost a quarter last year, nearing $4.9 million, and is now drawing some criticism for wasting taxpayers' money, the BBC reports. Last year was Prince Charles' 60th birthday and it was an occasion for him to fly over 50,000 miles to attend 658 different official engagements. According to the BBC report, much of the increased cost was due to increases in travel expenses, which his supporters defend as necessary for the valuable diplomatic services he provides for the UK around the world. From the BBC:
Author Ingrid Seward, who has written extensively about the Royal Family, told the BBC that Charles offered "value for money" and was "no burden" on the taxpayer. "When Prince Charles goes on foreign trips it's not [simply] because he wants to, it's because he's invited by foreign countries and it must be paid for because he's a great ambassador," she said.
However, Republic spokesman Graham Smith said: "This is a double whammy for the taxpayer - less tax and more subsidies while the government is having to make swingeing cuts to public services."
The news comes on the heels of the British Parliament's expense scandal that resulted in the resignation of a number of prominent government officials.