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Edward and Sophie hit the piste with their children for a half-term family skiing holiday after jetting into the Swiss resort on a £24,000 private jet - TASTE EVERY SEASON
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Edward and Sophie hit the piste with their children for a half-term family skiing holiday after jetting into the Swiss resort on a £24,000 private jet

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The Earl and Countess of Wessex were spotted on the slopes of Switzerland as they enjoyed a family skiing holiday at the exclusive resort of St Moritz.

Prince Edward and his wife Sophie were joined by their children James, Viscount Severn, 11, and Lady Louise Windsor, 15, as they made the most of the half-term holiday in the Swiss Alps.

The family appeared to be in high spirits as they hit the pistes during the day before going for lunch at the Corviglia Club – the most exclusive restaurant in the mountains.

Heartwarming photos show the ski-mad family laughing and joking on chair lifts and practicing their skiing while enjoying the beautiful clear weather.

The royal couple are guests of the UK-based Swiss financier Urs Schwarzenbach – who is estimated to be worth almost £billion – and owns a magnificent £million chalet in St Moritz.

And the family jetted out in style from Britain on last week in a £49million Gulfstream G650, a private jet that costs in the region £24,000 to charter for a two-hour flight.

Capable of flying at speeds of almost 600mph, the jet can carry up to 14 passengers and three cabin crew, and includes four convertible beds, two bathrooms, high-speed internet and a Blu-Ray entertainment system.

Shortly after landing near St Moritz, the family departed the airfield in black Range Rovers and made their way to the upmarket ski enclave, as shown in photographs that surfaced today.

St Moritz is something of a celebrity haunt for die-hard skiers, frequented by the likes of John Travolta, Liz Hurley and Ivana Trump, as well as a string of royals.

The royal couple, who are regulars on the slopes, are expected to fly back to the UK by Monday, when Prince Edward is expected to carry out public engagements in Somerset.

It was only last year that Edward and Sophie’s daughter Lady Louise Windsor ended up on crutches after a fall on a similar family ski trip in the Swiss Alps.

MailOnline has contacted representatives of the Wessexes for comment.

Tonight Graham Smith from the anti-monarchy campaign group Republic blasted The Earl of Wessex’s ‘extravagance’ with public funds.

He said: ‘They’ve all tried to associate themselves with and show some leadership around climate change. But there only concern is their own status.

‘I think quite often with the Royals it’s a matter of attaching themselves to causes but with their lifestyles they do whatever suits them.

‘There is no reason why they can’t take conventional flights. I think they all take whatever transport they want.’

Prince Edward came underfire last summer when he was accused of ‘abusing public money’ after using a private jet to travel 280 miles across the UK at a cost of £6,000.

The tenth-in-line-to-the-throne travelled from Hampshire to Birmingham Airport in June before attending an event in Tamworth marking the death 1,100 years ago of Anglo-Saxon ruler Aethelflaed.

Later in the day he returned south, going from Birmingham Airport to Bournemouth in Dorset to attend an event in Poole in the evening.

The normal cost to hire the Cessna Citation XL private jet used to fly between the West Midlands city and the South Coast is about £6,000, while a first-class train ticket from Hampshire to Birmingham would have cost £250.

It comes after fellow royal the Duchess of Sussex raised eyebrows during an extravagant trip to New York for her baby shower.

Meghan Markle was flown home in a $43million private jet laid on by George and Amal Clooney after the extravagant trip to the Big Apple, where she partied for five nights with her celebrity friends.

Meghan landed at Farnborough Airport in Hampshire on Thursday after a £200,000 round trip to America following a lavish baby shower thrown by Serena Williams, Jessica Mulroney, and one of the royal’s sorority sisters from Northwestern University.

The eye-watering cost and extraordinarily lavish nature of Meghan’s trip to New York has caused some disquiet in Britain despite Kensington Palace insisting it was ‘privately funded’.

Meghan’s extremely luxurious mode of transportation back to the UK – a Gulfstream G450 twin jet plane – is thought to have cost a staggering $125,000 (£96,000) for the six-hour journey back to the UK from the Big Apple.

The 37-year-old royal is also thought to have arrived in New York via private jet, meaning that a phenomenal $250,000 (£200,000) was spent on her round-trip travel for the personal girls’ trip.

After the whirlwind five-night trip, which appears to have cost up to $100,000 (£75,000) per day in hotels, events, food, drink and gifts, Meghan has just two nights to recover at her London home before flying to Morocco with Prince Harry on Saturday for a three-day trip to the north African country.

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