Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 20 September 2019

Elton John defends Prince Harry and Meghan for using private jets

The British royals have been criticised for using private jets, despite their commitment to protecting the environment

Sir Elton John arrives for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May 2018. AP
Sir Elton John arrives for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May 2018. AP

Sir Elton John on Monday said he was “deeply distressed” by media criticism of Britain's Duke and Duchess of Sussex for using a private jet to go on holiday.

The singer took to social media to hit back at suggestions that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were hypocritical for travelling by private jet, despite the high carbon impact of the flights appearing to be at odds with the couple’s dedication to environmental causes.

British newspapers claimed that the couple had taken four private plane journeys in 11 days.

Sir Elton said he had given the Duke and Duchess, who were on holiday with their son Archie, the use of his private jet as they flew to stay with him at his home in Nice, southern France.

He said he had provided the family with the private plane to “maintain a high level of much-needed precaution”.

The singer added that he has a profound sense of obligation to “protect Harry and his family from unnecessary press intrusion” because of his friendship with the royal’s late mother, Princess Diana.

Defending the royals, Sir Elton said that he wanted to support their commitment to environmental causes and had paid to compensate for the carbon impact by donating to charity.

Carbon offsetting works by allowing passengers to invest money in environmental projects such as planting trees to balance out the carbon emissions caused by jet travel.

The singer called on the media to “cease these relentless and untrue assassinations on their character that are spuriously crafted on an almost daily basis”.

Criticism of the royals comes as the teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg made headlines for refusing to travel to the US by air.

The Swedish activist is using a high-tech yacht to cross the Atlantic and cut down on carbon emissions.

Updated: August 19, 2019 11:31 PM

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