Search results

Start typing

The Prince of Wales and his entourage on camels posing for camera in front of Pyramid of Cheops and Pyramid of Cephrenes, Giza, Cairo. The Prince is seated on the camel fifth from the left. The man in the white suit with a cigar, gazing up at the Prince,
Royal Travel

Modes of travel and travelling accessories used by monarchs past and present

Modes of Transport

In the sixteenth century, monarchs like Henry VIII and Elizabeth I might have covered a mere ten miles a day when travelling. Unreliable roads, changeable weather and a large entourage all combined to make journeys on horseback slow and difficult. In the reigns that followed, improvements in carriage design helped to make travel more comfortable. Many innovations, such as lighter suspension, heating devices and in-built lighting can be seen in the carriages kept at the Royal Mews today.

Portrait photograph of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (1841-1910), 1890©

Passage by sea offered a faster alternative to travel over land. Charles II was a keen sailor, and commissioned no fewer than 27 yachts during his reign. Many were used by the King himself for racing and leisure, as well as crossing the Channel. His yacht Fubbs, built in 1682, was furnished in lavish style, including a four-poster bed with silk hangings. Watercolours in the Royal Collection show how Queen Victoria and other monarchs furnished their own Royal Yachts in subsequent reigns.

Long-distance travel became considerably cheaper and easier in the nineteenth century with the advent of the railway and the steamship, and royals began to journey further afield more frequently. Many of Queen Victoria's children undertook tours abroad to prepare them for their future responsibilities, with Albert Edward, Prince of Wales travelling as far afield as Canada, India and Egypt. Queen Victoria herself frequently made excursions to France, where she visited the Emperor Napoleon III (1808–73) and his wife Eugenie (1826–1920) in 1855. At this time a new mode of transport, the Royal Train, was established, bringing greater comfort and speed to long-distance journeys.

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.