Sir Elton John has defended the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for travelling by private jet to his £15 million villa in Nice in the south of France.
In an Instagram post, alongside a photo of the couple on their royal tour last year, the 72-year-old British singer said:
“I am deeply distressed by today’s distorted and malicious account in the press surrounding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s private stay at my home in Nice last week.
“Prince Harry’s Mother, Diana Princess Of Wales was one of my dearest friends. I feel a profound sense of obligation to protect Harry and his family from the unnecessary press intrusion that contributed to Diana’s untimely death.
“After a hectic year continuing their hard work and dedication to charity, David and I wanted the young family to have a private holiday inside the safety and tranquility of our home. To maintain a high level of much-needed protection, we provided them with a private jet flight. 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.”
Sir Elton bought Castel Mont-Alban in 1996 for a reported £5 million. The luxury villa boasts spectacular views of the Cote d'Azur.
He was a close friend of Harry’s late mother Princess Diana, who he met when he performed at Prince Andrew's 21st birthday party at Windsor Castle in 1981.
At Diana’s funeral in 1997, he performed Candle In The Wind and has remained close to her sons William and Harry.
Sir Elton and husband David Furnish attended Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding in 2011, and Harry and Meghan’s nuptials in May 2018.
It comes after the Spanish press reported that the Sussexes had spent six days in Ibiza at the beginning of the month to celebrate Meghan’s 38th birthday - a round-trip via private jet that is said to have cost £20,000.
Two days after returning to the UK, the couple boarded another jet to Nice on 14 August, reported The Sun.
Meghan was photographed wearing a white blouse and Panama hat as she carried Archie down the steps of the 12-seater Cessna Citation Sovereign, while Harry donned a cap and sunglasses.
It’s believed they spent around four days in France, before returning home on the jet, operated by private aviation company NetJets, known as 'the Uber for billionaires.'
Each aircraft offers in-flight fine dining, entertainment, grooming products and WiFi.
It’s been claimed that flying by private jet would have emitted seven times more carbon dioxide per passenger than a commercial flight.
NetJets introduced a mandatory carbon offset program in 2007 for all its customers, which added $5,500 (approximately £4,500) to a customer’s yearly contract.
The jet furore after controversial reports claimed Prince Harry travelled to the Google summit in Sicily by private jet, earlier this month, where he gave a speech about climate change, while barefoot.
Harry and Meghan have also been vocal about environmental issues with the causes they support.
Royal commentator Phil Dampier told Mail Online: “They [Harry and Meghan] must have known that taking private jets four times in quick succession would leave them open to charges of hypocrisy but they just went ahead and did it anyway.”