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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,

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.

Full-length portrait photograph of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII wearing a suit and bowler hat, holding a walking stick in his right hand, standing on a rug with a white dog, probably a Samoyed, laying on the rug to the Prince's ri

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.


After Édouard Baldus (1813-89)

Train Royal

Calcutta, Bombay & Simla : Bourne & Shepherd (active 1864-1900s)

His Royal Highness and Elephant: Prince of Wales Tour of India 1875-6 (vol.6)

Dean & Co, Threadneedle St

The Royal Railroad Carriage

Bippa : 107-110, Fleet Street, London EC4

HM Queen Elizabeth riding on the Victoria Line

Central Press Photos Ltd. : 6-7 Gough Square, Fleet Street, London EC4

HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh arrive in Kuwait