Q: Why do royals, such as Harry and Meghan, have to go on tours funded by the UK tax-payers?
A: Harry is a working Royal which means that he carries out engagements on behalf of the Queen in representing British interests at home and abroad as well as representing the Sovereign within communities at home and across the Commonwealth Realms and nations. This is a very serious responsibility and part of why the UK retains its position as number one in the world in regard to “soft power”. Not one government representative can relate to and touch so may people around the world as the Queen and her family do. Again public expense does not fund these tours, just certain aspects such as security and certain portions of travel if the government has asked a member of the Royal family to represent the government itself on visits and trips. However, if the government specifically asks a member of the Royal family to take a tour on behalf of the nation, for “influential” purposes, then costs will be met by the tax-payer, as the government has insisted the Royal in question specifically be the one to undertake said tour. Not everything is so cut and dry or white and black where duties of the Royals are concerned when representing the Queen or the government itself.
Most travel by the Royals is met by the Sovereign Support Grant, which are profits of the Crown Estate, as well as the privy purse. Any travel met by the government treasury itself would be for specific use travel in which a Royal was purposely asked to visit or attend something on behalf of the British government and not the Sovereign herself. For more on Royal finances and to further learn about travel expenses and costs, click here.