THE UK military spent more than half a million pounds on officers to “open doors” for the royals, it has emerged.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has admitted spending £506,681.18 on equerries, officers whose job it is to serve the king and other senior royals.

This money is covered by the MoD – not the royal household, according to the military’s response to a Freedom of Information request from the campaign group Republic.

It is not clear how many equerries are employed to work for the royal family, though there were three present at the Queen’s funeral in September, according to the BBC.

Two were in the presence of Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie while another rode in procession with Prince William and Catherine, Princess of Wales (below).

The National: Princess of Wales

Three people have been named as working as equerries for King Charles and Queen Camilla in media reports: Lieutenant Commander Will Thornton of the Fleet Air Arm, Major Ollie Plunket, and the senior equerry Lieutenant Colonel Jonny Thompson. 

Republic CEO Graham Smith said the MoD spending money to use “highly trained military personnel as window dressing for the king” was “disgraceful”.

He added: “I am calling on the military and government to stop this practice immediately.

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"We are often hearing that the military is stretched and under-staffed. With its additional commitments to Ukraine, how can the government justify spending any of the country's defence budget on people to open doors for Charles, Camilla and William?

"Charles dodged a massive inheritance tax bill eighteen months ago. The royals are worth more than a billion pounds. Why can't they employ their own equerries?”

In its response to Republic, the MoD said that the costs of employing equerries was covered by fixed staff costs, meaning the money would “still be incurred by the MoD regardless of where these personnel were employed”.

But Smith said: “The MoD has said this is not additional spending, but it is the use of officers that could be used elsewhere, doing the job they were trained to do.”

The MoD was approached for comment.