Republic has called on the Ministry of Defence to stop providing equerries to the royal family after the Evening Standard revealed the secondments cost the cash-strapped department £960,000 last year.

A total of 13 equerries from the armed forces provide "specialist service knowledge and assistance" to the royals.

"It's shameful that the government has allowed the Windsors to fritter away the defence budget while the military faces massive cutbacks," said Dr Emily Robinson, Republic's executive chair. "It is an insult to the dedication and professionalism of our armed forces."

"The only beneficiaries of this arrangement are the royals, at the expense of the taxpayer and our service men and women. The link between the royals and the military has always been a PR stunt - this should give us the impetus to end it once and for all."