The Queen’s official excursions have seen Elizabeth II travel across the globe, to more than 120 countries, since the age of 21. Now 92, the UK monarch is considered paramount in the maintenance of national relations between states, diplomacy and sometimes, a peace broker. She is often accompanied by other members of the royal family on her duties, yet this saw a shift after her husband, Prince Philip, retired from official duties. The Duke of Edinburgh’s decision, in 2017, meant he would no longer be by the side of his wife if she ventured abroad on state trips.
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Yet an unusual travel quirk of the married couple, parents to first in line to the throne Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, has now been revealed.
Royal biographer Robert Hardman has opened up on how their travel plans are sometimes not totally in sync.
In his new book, Queen of the World, he told how they would never sit next to each other on long-haul flights.
He wrote of Prince Philip, 97: “For most of his life, however, his role has been that of the Royal Family’s (and the world’s) longest serving supporting act, always walking two paces behind his wife.
“Jack Straw was struck by the fact that, on a long flight, the Duke would sit in the row of seats behind the Queen, too.”
His actions could have been a matter of respect or, as Robert went on to outline, because of the Queen’s large entourage.
Opening up further on their travel plans, Robert added of the Queen’s husband, who was recently involved in a car crash near to his home: “He would also help keep the rest of the entourage alert, even if he was not wholly convinced of their reason for being there.
“’His temper could keep things cracking along quite nicely,’ recalled a former member of the Royal household.
“’Because when the Duke went travelling on his own, it would just be him and a policeman and a private secretary.
“So on these tours he’d come in and see all these dressers and footmen and so on. ‘What are all these people doing here?’ He would say.”
Meanwhile, Prince Philip’s lack of presence beside the Queen on-board an aircraft is particularly surprising, after her flight confession came to light.
While the UK monarch takes on her duties abroad with a smile, a hidden fear of travel has been revealed.
The monarch does not reportedly enjoy the process of travelling to far-flung destinations, according to royal biographer Robert.
He told how Prince Harry’s grandmother is “famously stoical” about the dangers of royal life while on excursions.
He added: “However, she (the Queen) has never been a great fan of air travel.
“If St Christopher, the patron saint of travellers, can afford any extra protection then so much the better.”