Prince Charles has hired one of the world’s most expensive yachts for his trip to the Caribbean next month in a bid to cut costs.

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The prince’s staff claim hiring the 2,000-ton, 245 ft Leander yacht will not only be cheaper than chartering a private jet for the 10-day visit, but also reduce his carbon emissions by 40 per cent.

Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall – who are flying to the Caribbean on a normal passenger plane in a bid to reduce their carbon footprint – will pay a lower rate than the usual UKP40,000-per-day fee for their stay on the boat, which will be paid for by the British taxpayers.

The yacht, which is owned by NCP car parks mogul Sir Donald Gosling, is decorated in the style of an old English country home, and features a freshwater swimming pool and a fully-equipped gymnasium. The master cabin comes complete with an en-suite bathroom, study, lounge and massage room.

This is the first time since the Royal Yacht Britannia was discarded in 1997 that a member of the British Royal Family has used a private vessel for an official overseas trip.

Charles, Camilla and their entourage will arrive in the Caribbean on March 4, before sailing to Tobago, St Lucia, Montserrat and Jamaica.

A spokesperson for Charles’ London residence Clarence House said the trip “will reinforce Britain’s ties with the important Commonwealth countries of Trinidad and Tobago.”