€63,000 spent on three-day royal visit in March

VIP catering for William and Kate cost more than €17,500
€63,000 spent on three-day royal visit in March
The royals visiting Howth Co. Dublin as part of their tour. Picture: Julien Behal Photography/ POOL IMAGES
The royals visiting Howth Co. Dublin as part of their tour. Picture: Julien Behal Photography/ POOL IMAGES

VIP catering for William and Kate cost more than €17,500

A miniature model of Dublin, a robin’s nest toy, and three books were presented to Prince William and Kate Middleton for their children as part of their visit to Ireland earlier this year.

The €73 in gifts — including copies of Roddy Doyle’s Giggler Treatment, as well as The Sleeping Giant and Gulliver — were part of some €63,000 spent by the Department of Foreign Affairs on the visit in March.

Invoices released under the Freedom of Information Act detail, item by item, more than €17,500 spent on VIP catering for the royals and their entourage on their three-day visit.

Filling up the private pantries of the Prince and the Duchess of Cambridge at state guesthouse Farmleigh — and for seven of their delegation — cost €28.37 each day of the visit for a combined bill of just over €650.

Six VIP lunch packs were provided for two days of the visit, each costing €28.37 while VIP flight snacks for the royal couple were also billed for the same amount of €25 (before Vat) each.

A dinner at Farmleigh for William and Kate on the day they arrived in Ireland with a “dessert change” cost just over €145 while a delegation and kitchen conference buffet dinner cost €1,500.

The dinner bill for the couple was higher the next day — again with the mysterious “dessert change” — and this time set the taxpayer back €192.95.

The largest chunk of the bill for the catering at Farmleigh came in staff costs with three managers, five waiting staff, and three chefs on hand for each day of the visit.

An event at the Museum of Literature in Dublin ended up costing €4,365.50 in catering, according to the invoices. This included a variety of three canapés billed at €12 per plate along with 47 bottles of mineral water costing €4.50 per bottle, and 15 homemade lemonades, each charged at €4 per bottle.

The house red wine — the name was not included on the invoice — cost €26 per bottle with the same price paid for the white. All told, the wine bill for 54 bottles came to just over €1,400.

Maija Sofia, the acclaimed Irish singer, was paid €1,000 for her performance at the event in the museum on St Stephen’s Green.

Transport costs for the visit included €1,611 for a Mercedes MPV to collect the royal couple at the airport, take them to Farmleigh, and ferry them between engagements.

That was made up of daily hire costs of €359, hourly hire costs of €46, driver’s lunch costing €26, a driver’s evening meal for €46, and €85.80 in taxi bills for the chauffeur “to/from”.

Another €1,744 was spent on a Mercedes people carrier for “Protocol” staff while €1,726 was paid out on transport for an advance party from the delegation.

A total of €455 was billed for luggage vans to transport the royal party’s belongings around. The Dublin Airport Authority was paid €1,187 for VIP services on arrival including a ramp transfer for Prince William and Duchess, and for eight people accompanying them.

Other costs for the trip included €553 for identity cards, €4,274 for three photographers, a picture retoucher and syndicator, and €9,352 for coach and minibus hire.

An accommodation bill of €1,238 for support staff was also run up with rooms booked at Galway’s Harbour Hotel and the Forster Court Hotel. Catering costs of €8,636 for media were incurred as well. This included 180 lunch packs costing €1,170, 200 sandwich/wrap platters for €960, and a €4,347 payment for “bowl food” from a catering company.

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