Prince William and Kate Middleton have reportedly stopped flying by helicopter so much since hearing that Queen Elizabeth II was "uncomfortable" with it. According to a report by Marie Claire, the duke and duchess of Cambridge had a habit of hiring helicopters to fly between Kensington Palace, Anmer Hall and other local stops. However, after the royal spending report was released last week, they learned that the queen was not happy with this practice.
Royal commentator Richard Palmer explained the helicopter decision in an interview with Express, saying that the spending report was essentially the nail in the coffin. He said: "I mean, I think they've been curtailed with [flying in a helicopter] a little bit. I think the Queen felt, certainty let it be known, that she felt uncomfortable about the entire family traveling by helicopter."
Price and optics aside, the queen reportedly felt that helicopters were too unsafe for frequent use – especially with the entire Cambridge family in one vehicle. There is a well-established rule that multiple people in the line of succession shouldn't travel together anyway, and according to Palmer this was a contributing factor.
"For whatever reason, the Queen let it be known that she was worried about the Cambridges traveling as a family by helicoper because of the possibilty of a crash," he said. With Prince William and all three of his children in one helicopter, the "third, fourth, fifth in line to throne" could be "wiped out" in one accident.
"I think there was partly a bit more going on behind the scenes," Palmer added later in the same interview. "I think there was a little bit of official unhappiness about the amount of time that the Cambridges were spending traveling between Anmer Hall in Norfolk and Kensington Palace, their London residence, using helicopters. People in the Cambridges' camp would say actually that didn't happen very often at all. Other people seemed to imply that it was happening a bit more than the Queen wanted it to happen."
Another element is Prince William's history as a helicopter pilot during his time in the Royal Air Force. According to a 2021 report by The Sun, the queen was particularly displeased by Prince William flying an aircraft himself. An insider said: "Her Majesty has told close friends and courtiers that she would like William to stop flying himself, particularly in bad weather, as helicopters are not the safest form of transport. It keeps the Queen awake at night and she is understandably very worried."