William furore stops Navy fly-past

Prince William’s use of a military aircraft to visit his girlfriend, Kate Middleton, has let to a Royal Navy fly-past being scrapped.

The fly-past was due to take place to mark the return the Royal Navy flagship HMS Ark Royal to Portsmouth, however it has now been cancelled amid fears the public may view the stunt as a “waste of taxpayers’ money”.

The decision came to light after an official email from the navy’s Fleet headquarters was accidentally linked to Portsmouth’s local newspaper, The News.

The email said: “With regard to the fly-past – taking into account the recent coverage of Chinooks and Princes and naive publicity stunts that waste taxpayers’ money – I would strongly advise that you do not do this.”

Prince William was widely criticised earlier this year when he used a Chinock helicopter to visit his girlfriend and then to fly to the Isle of Wight for a stag party with his brother Prince Harry.

Officials had planned for Ark Royal’s commanding officer Capt John Clink’s brother, Adam, to fly the Harrier overhead when the ship arrived at the port.

The email continued: “I do think it is a great story – and when the Naval Strike Wing embark with Adam we should milk it for all it is worth – but the fly-past at this stage has a serious chance of backfiring.”

It also warned the public would “have a field day” if the plan went ahead.

A Fleet spokesman said: “Fleet Headquarters did advise that the fly-past carried a serious risk of back-firing if there was taxpayers’ money being wasted.”

The Ark Royal has returned to Portsmouth following a seven-week period spent working with the US navy in Florida.