Two short trips to Canada by Princess Anne this year cost taxpayers at least $131,000, CTV News has learned.
The King’s only sister visited the country for three days in May to celebrate the 175th anniversary of a New Brunswick military regiment, and then again in early June to attend a weekend conference in Banff, Alta.
More than 60 per cent of the bill for the brief trips – or $80,181.80 – came from costs linked to Royal Canadian Mounted Police security, such as $52,297.50 in overtime and $26,179.71 in travel.
In New Brunswick, the Canadian military spent $27,246.00, including $14,457.19 for air force transportation within Canada and $12,789.09 for costs associated with parade attendance. The New Brunswick government’s $24,570.85 bill featured $13,694.96 for photographic services and $2,689.48 for a driver.
The costs also include fuel, meals, per diems, hotel amenities, tech supplies, shipping and more.
RCMP – $80,181.80
National Defence – $27,246.00
New Brunswick – $24,570.85
TOTAL – $131,998.65
“The costs seem low; they’re consistent with her previous trips to Canada,” Kathy Brock, a professor in the school of public policy at Queen’s University, told CTVNews.ca. “The RCMP costs are going to be the largest share, and that’s because really Canada does not want to have something happen to a royal when the royal is visiting our country.”
The total of $131,998.65 in bills uncovered by CTVNews.ca does not include normal operational costs such as government, military and police salaries, or costs to U.K. taxpayers. Cost data was provided directly to CTVNews.ca by the RCMP and the Department of National Defence, while New Brunswick figures were obtained through a freedom of information request. Other costs could still be processed.
“It’s hard to believe our governments couldn’t figure out a way to do this for less than six figures,” Canadian Taxpayers Federation director Franco Terrazzano told CTVNews.ca. “We’re not saying someone’s uncle should be taking photos from his iPhone, but surely photos shouldn’t be costing taxpayers nearly $14,000. Governments need to do more to earn taxpayers’ trust on these trips.”
The two journeys were considered working trips and not official visits to Canada, like King Charles’ ceremony-filled three-day Royal Tour in May 2022, which cost at least $1.4 million, according to a previous CTVNews.ca investigation.
Princess Anne was in New Brunswick as the ceremonial Colonel-in-Chief of Canada’s oldest continuously serving armour and cavalry regiment, the 8th Canadian Hussars, often referred to as the Princess Louise’s. The military regiment invited the Princess Royal to attend its 175th anniversary celebration, which ran from May 19 to 21 in Sussex and Moncton, where she attended parades and delivered remarks. She has held the honorary position since 1972.
The princess is also the president of the Commonwealth Study Conference, which was founded in 1956 by her late father, Prince Philip.
The conference for “high potential emerging leaders” is held every six years. In early June, the princess attended the conference’s opening weekend in the mountain resort town of Banff, Alta., where she delivered remarks at a June 3 reception and met with 250 delegates from more than 30 Commonwealth nations.
“Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal’s deep and abiding affection for the people of Canada is demonstrated by her extensive visits programme and her long-standing patronage of the wide range of Canadian military affiliations she holds alongside her support of many charitable organisations,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson told CTVNews.ca.
Princess Anne is involved with more than 300 military regiments, organizations and charities worldwide, including at least 17 in Canada. She has been to Canada approximately two dozen times.
Generally considered the “hardest-working royal,” she appeared at 214 engagements in 2022, more than any other member of her family. According to Canadian Heritage, an official Nov. 10 to 11, 2014, trip to Canada by the princess cost $128,000, excluding security.
“One thing about Princess Anne is she’s very low-key on her visits,” Brock, a political scientist, said. “She’s known as one of the hardest working royals, but also one of the ones who’s most efficient with their money.”
The RCMP provided protection for both 2023 trips: $44,234.23 was spent for security in New Brunswick, while $35,947.57 was for Alberta. The Canadian military and New Brunswick government only contributed to costs associated with the 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise’s) anniversary.
“As part of the celebrations, 37 Canadian Brigade Group supported the Freedom of the City parades in Moncton and Sussex in New Brunswick that were associated with this anniversary,” a National Defence spokesperson said in a email to CTVNews.ca. “The 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise’s) and its members were honoured to have had the Regimental Colonel-In-Chief, Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal attend their 175th anniversary celebrations.”
In a statement to CTVNews.ca, an RCMP spokesperson explained that Canada’s national police force is mandated to provide security to so-called “International Protected Persons” (IPPs) in the country.
“The level of protection/security is determined by Protective Services, taking into consideration the status of the visitor and the visit itself, the threat environment and a number of other factors,” the spokesperson said. “To ensure the safety of our members, those we protect, and the integrity of operations, the RCMP does not disclose information in relation to the planning, tactics or protective postures that are adopted for any given individual and/or event.”
Former New Brunswick MLA James E. Lockyer, who previously served as the province’s attorney general, is also Honorary Colonel of the 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise’s) and helped plan Princess Anne’s visit.
“She was outstanding and she was engaged and she took in all of the events,” Lockyer told CTVNews.ca. “One of the instructions we got from her office was that she wanted her days jam-packed, and they were jam-packed.”
According to Lockyer, approximately $375,000 was also raised in corporate and private donations for the May 2023 events. He says the princess arrived in Canada on a commercial flight and was in New Brunswick for three nights. He called the trip a “sign of commitment” and a “private visit to her regiment.”
“She’s visited the regiment on a number of occasions, most recently in Fredericton and Moncton in 1997, and when she learned that we were celebrating the 175th, she indicated a desire that she wanted to come to this,” Lockyer said. “It was a significant success.”
The Monarchist League of Canada previously calculated the cost of the country’s ties to the throne at approximately $58.7 million per year.
“RCMP security would always be provided to members of the Royal Family when they are in Canada as we are ultimately responsible for their safety while here whether it’s an ‘official’ tour or a ‘private’ in-and-out visit,” the pro-monarchy league’s dominion chairman, Robert Finch, told CTVNews.ca. “I think (Princess Anne) brings a lot of value to the Royal Family and the monarchy and, quite frankly, Canada is lucky to have her as part of the royal team.”