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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

Travel in Britain - Official and Private

In the 15th and 16th centuries it was common for monarchs to move between residences to allow for the buildings to be cleaned and refreshed. Vacating London during the summer months was especially important due to the danger of plague and disease in the city. At the same time, a royal progress to the provinces could help consolidate the authority of the crown. Face-to-face meetings were a means of strengthening ties of loyalty with regional nobles who were responsible for upholding law and order in the sovereign's absence. Monarchs like Henry VIII (1491–1547) and Elizabeth I (1533–1603) used their travels to hear petitions and engage in lavish pageantry, which underlined the splendour of the court.

The Entrance of George IV at Holyroodhouse©

With the accession of James I (1566–1625) in 1603, the kingdoms of England and Scotland were united; after this time monarchs increasingly travelled north of the English border. Charles I (1600–49) journeyed to Edinburgh for his coronation in 1633, and in 1822 the newly-crowned George IV (1762–1830) held a levée at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. His arrival in Holyrood is recorded in a painting in the Royal Collection by Sir David Wilkie (1785–1841) (RCIN 401187). Other ceremonial and official occasions have prompted travel to Ireland and Wales.

Royal travel across the British Isles has also been a way for monarchs to find respite from busy court life. Queen Victoria (1819–1901) famously disliked London and made frequent trips to her private residences at Balmoral in Scotland and Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. Her son, Edward VII (1841–1910), found respite at Sandringham in Norfolk.

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.