Space tourism – too rich for Queen


Space tourism is apparently too rich for royal blood.

The Queen told former Canadian prime minister Jean Chretien she found the price tag for billionaire clown Guy Laliberte’s recent extra-terrestrial adventure to be excessive.

“She said she would not have done it and she found the price a bit expensive,” Chretien said Tuesday, shortly after being awarded the Order of Merit by the Queen during a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Laliberte, founder of the Cirque du Soleil and Canada’s first space tourist, paid US$35 million to blast off in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft earlier this month.

He will pay up to US$10 million more for the celebrity-studded, internationally -broadcast extravaganza he staged from the International Space Station.

Laliberte has said the trip was “worth every penny and more.”

But the Queen is not quite in the same billionaire’s club as Laliberte.

Her personal fortune is a closely guarded secret. It’s been estimated at as much as US$600 million, although Buckingham Palace maintains such estimates are grossly overstated.

“Even if she is not poor, she found it very expensive anyway,” said Chretien said in an interview from London with The Canadian Press.