The Royal Family are a clan of travel regulars, making journeys both nationally and internationally as part of their royal duty. While all of this opportunity to see the world, mix with new cultures and take in the sites may be a dream for those with an appetite for wanderlust, it seems royal travel itineraries are far from a holiday.
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While most of us daydream about relaxing on a beach or exploring the local scenery, for the Royal Family it’s all about timekeeping and following a strict schedule which is seemingly void of any downtime.
According to the Telegraph’s Royal Tour veteran Reporter Gordon Rayner: “Touring the world meeting heads of state and being shown cultural treasures sounds like a wonderful life.
“Yet I have no envy for the Royal family. Their visits to world-famous sites rarely last more than 40 minutes, and the chances are they will never return.”
Indeed, from Prince William to the Queen herself, every member of the family has a stringent itinerary that is prepared months in advance and has no room for a cocktail on the beach.
Town & Country report that a royal tour can take “up to a year to plan,” with the itinerary prioritising matters of national importance that the government of the host country hope to draw attention too.
However, they add that there is some room for “matters of personal interest,” though this largely includes things like charity work rather than checking out the local strip.
Alas, royals don’t get much free time.
“Royal tours used to span months, but these days it’s more economical to cover more engagements in less time, so the royals will never be away longer than two weeks, and customarily they attend around four engagements a day,” an expert told Town & Country.
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In fact, so much work goes into ensuring that the schedule is timed right down to the second that a member of the royal party’s travel team often ventures out to the country in advance to figure out how it will all come together.
Town & Country add that things are so extreme that “venue plans are drawn up to illustrate where everyone will stand, sit, enter and exit”.
Last year, when Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle took on a tour of Africa, they were gone from September 23 to October 2, yet managed to span five major locations in that time.
The pair travelled to South Africa – with stops in Cape Town and Johannesburg – before the Duke journeyed on alone to Botswana, Malawi and Angola.
- Queen Elizabeth II always takes this on long haul flights
Meanwhile, as part of her 1953 tour to New Zealand, Queen Elizabeth spanned the entire country in just 15 days.
What’s more, while your average holiday includes kicking back and relaxing, often without a care in the world, it seems the royals always have to be on guard.
As a result, the family member representing the monarchy will be flanked by security guards and special intelligence.
When Prince William and Kate travelled to Canada in 2016 they took with them a team of 12.
What’s more, family members including the Duchess of Cambridge and the monarch are both known to also take hairdressers and even a surgeon along for the journey.
When it comes to the Queen’s entourage, it can be up to 34 people on the journey.
The Telegraph states this includes: “Master of the Household department, to oversee catering and logistics, her private secretary and his deputy, a secretary for each of those secretaries, two secretaries for the Duke, two dressers, a hairdresser, a valet, two ladies-in-waiting, an equerry for military liaison, press officers, eight police bodyguards and the Foreign Secretary and his or her staff.”
The Queen has also been known to take a small army of dogs with her, too.
During the programme ‘Secrets of the Royal Flight’, a former Navigator of the Queen’s Flight revealed: “Occasionally, as well as our very important royal passengers, we might have some very important royal dogs.”
So, while all of this travel may seem like a relaxing break, with all of the elements combined, it’s a world away from the travel we experience.
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