Originally Posted by Mark O
A couple of months ago I was in Windsor on a friday afternoon and the Queen and Prince Philip arrived by claret coloured helicopter, purely out of curiosity would this helicopter have EIIR painted on it and where is it normally stationed in England?
Yes, this was probably the Royal Household's Sikorsky S-76 C+ helicopter. It is stationed at Blackbushe Aerodrome near the Berkshire/Surrey/Hampshire border and is about 5 or 10 minutes' flying time from Windsor.
By way of background information, there is in fact no 'Queen's Flight' any more: the planes in which the Royal Family fly are from No. 32 (The Royal) Squadron, based at RAF Northolt, Middlesex, [just outside London] an airport which has a dual role, since, as well as being an Services field, is also a well-known airport for civilian private planes. [You'd most likely land here if you had your own private plane - think Ivana Trump has landed at RAF Northolt in the past].
The Role of No. 32 (The Royal) Squadron is actualy to provide air support in operational theatres for the Ministry of Defence. Any spare capacity on the aircraft is then offered to the Royal Family, the Prime Minister and senior Ministers.
The cost of royal flying does not come out of the Civil List [or the equivalent payments that the Queen now makes to members of her family] but is provided separately out of public funds - the grant in aid. As taxpayers fund this, it has led to controversies at times: most notably the references to 'Air Miles Andy' by a British Public who resent their taxes fuding what they feel is non-essential travel by the DofY [e.g. to visit golf courses etc].
Just one more thing - I have read through the early part of the thread about the Queen's driving licence. To supplement what people have said: yes, the Queen does have a licence, which I expect she first obtained during the war. My father is exactly the same age as the Queen and took out a licence at the same time - the difference then was that NO ONE had to take a driving test because of wartime conditions:driving licences were not suspended - to drive you still needed a licence but did not have to take a test - you just applied for your licence and that was that.
Hope some of this helps