Happy Birthday to Prince William Duke of Cambridge, who turned 32 on 21 June, 2008. For his birthday The Queen has given him access to a leased Agusta A109S Grand helicopter, according to Kirsty McCormack from the London Daily Express.
It will also be used to transport other members of the Royal Family.
…no cost to taxpayers….
Before republicans make yet another false claim, British taxpayers will pay nothing. Nothing. The rent will be paid for by The Queen from the Sovereign Grant. This is the fancy name for what is left of the income from the Crown Estate, a portfolio of properties and other investments.
The Queen in effect pays a super tax on the Crown Estate income of around 85% – the only person in the country who pays this special high rate. ( see the section on Royal Finances on our site)
As for the helicopter, Kirsty McCormack says Prince William probably can't wait to take it out for a spin, but point out it's unlikely the qualified helicopter pilot will actually be flying the helicopter which was built in 2008 and has had no previous owners.
She explains that with William now being a father, the helicopter will be a great way for him and his wife Kate to nip between official engagements and still be able to spend quality time with their son Prince George.
The helicopter – which is manufactured by Anglo-Italian company AgustaWestland – will also be used to transport other members of the Royal Family too.
"It has been leased for a fixed number of hours per year," a spokesman for the Queen told the Express.
"It has been leased in this way because it offers good value for money and because it provides for better safety and security than taking a diverse number of short term leases."
The aircraft will be paid for by the Sovereign Grant – public funds given to the Monarch by the Government every year – and will be based alongside the Queen's other private helicopter at RAF Odiham in Hampshire.
"The word is that this new chopper will be used mostly for William and Kate, although other family members can use it too," a royal source explained.
"But with William and Kate stepping up their official duties in the next few years it is expected they will spend a lot of time in it.
"At the moment the Queen has her helicopter which is used by other royals but sometimes there is also a need to hire a different aircraft."