Following news of Prince William's planned trip to East Asia campaign group Republic has called on the government to stop sending royals abroad.

The royals claim the trips are at the request of the government, but it is believed the palace asks the government to make the official request in the first place.

Republic's chief executive officer, Graham Smith said today:

"These overseas trips are all about giving the royals a sense of purpose and importance, they have little to no value for the country."

"The government has plenty of effective ambassadors, business leaders and representatives on hand who can do a real job of promoting Britain's interests.  These royal trips are all about promoting the royals, not Britain."

"The royals do not represent the real issues and concerns that matter to the British people and are not qualified to comment on them.  One minute William is shooting wildlife, the next he wants to lecture the Chinese on protecting wildlife.  One minute the royals are understandably complaining about human rights, the next they're cosying up to Middle East dictators and murderers."

"The government knows they don't need the royals, it's the royals who need these trips, as part of their constant battle to appear useful.  It's time ministers started to say no to royal demands for overseas junkets."