Meghan Markle and Harry ‘wanted to be discreet’ in economy flight before green row erupted

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The couple came under fire for the decision to take a string of expensive flights last year, weeks after Harry had made a series of bold claims surrounding the environment. Reports emerged that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex took a jet to Nice, as they were photographed landing in France to holiday at friend and musician Elton John’s home. But Harry had claimed mere weeks before that he and Meghan would have a “maximum” of two children due to concerns they had over the environment.

In a separate post, Harry then wrote on his now-defunct Sussex Royal Instagram page that “with nearly seven billion people inhabiting this Earth, every choice, every footprint, every action makes a difference”.

Accusations were thrown at the couple, with observers claiming they shouldn’t take private jets if they want to support environmental causes, as well as allegations over whether British taxpayer money should be funding such trips.

Yet in a throwback report in 2018, it appeared that originally the couple – before they had first son Archie – were keen to take economy flights, like their brother and sister-in-law Prince William and Kate Middleton.

At the time, the couple were seen taking a flight to France as they celebrated their first New Year together as a married couple.

ITV’s Lorraine Kelly questioned why the couple, and other royals, were keen to take the cheaper form of transport when going on their holidays.

She asked royal correspondent Victoria Murphy: “We understand that the couple went to the south of France and they went economy and everybody was like freak, horror! Why did they go economy though, when they could have chartered a private jet?”

Ms Murphy said: “You know the royals do fly economy, particularly the young royals. They do like to take scheduled flights, sometimes William and Kate have flown economy up to Scotland from time to time.

“When they take shared flights, they like to be as discreet as possible, so maybe kind of skulking at the back, in economy, which is what they did.”

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Lorraine joked: “But when they go to the loo, people will see them though. Which is what happened!”

Ms Murphy responded: “Exactly, but you know after that economy flight, it looks like the economy element of their trip was parked there and we think that they had quite a decadent celebration for New Year.

“After that we understand they took a helicopter over to Monaco, and they were partying and I don’t think any partying over New Year is going to be low key.”

As a result of the row, Elton moved to support Harry and Meghan following their use of his home.

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The entertainment legend, who was close with Harry’s mother Princess Diana, claimed in a social media post that he had provided them with the private jet, and that the method of transport was carbon neutral.

He added: “To support Prince Harry’s commitment to the environment, we ensured their flight was carbon neutral, by making the appropriate contribution to Carbon Footprint.

“I highly respect and applaud both Harry and Meghan’s commitment to charity and I’m calling on the press to cease these relentless and untrue assassinations on their character that are spuriously crafted on an almost daily basis.”

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