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Sofia of Spain uses budget airline to pop over and visit her brother

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The Spanish queen flew into Stansted on Sunday on a £13 Ryanair ticket. "Whenever possible the royals use Spanish airlines. But in this case Ryanair was the most suitable option for the journey," a palace spokesperson explained
 Photo: © Rex

03 JUNE 2009

It's not the most common mode of transport associated with royalty, but when Queen Sofia of Spain flew into the British capital recently she did so with a £13 ticket on budget airline Ryanair. 

The 70-year-old wife of King Juan Carlos boarded one of the low-cost airline's planes in the northern Spanish city of Santander on Sunday evening heading for Essex's Stansted airport. She was making the trip to visit her brother, ex-King Constantine of Greece, who is recovering from heart surgery in a London hospital.

Members of the Spanish royal family – with the exception of the king, who travels on military flights – regularly use scheduled airlines. It's thought it may be the first time a senior member has used a low-cost airline, though.

"Whenever possible the royals use Spanish airlines, but in this case Ryanair was the most suitable option for the journey," a spokesperson at the royal palace confirmed." I believe it may be the first time they have chosen to use Ryanair."

The airline is the only one operating between the British capital and Santander, which the queen was visiting with her husband on Sunday, attending an event linked with the country's Armed Forces day.

Having made the journey up from  Stansted to the capital, Sofia, who was born Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark and is second cousin to Prince Charles,  was driven to the private Wellington Hospital in St John's Wood to be with her younger brother. Constantine, now 68, was King of Greece from 1964 to 1973, when he was deposed. Since the abolition of the Greek monarchy the former king - who is Prince William's godfather – has lived in the London with his wife Anne-Marie.

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