NEWS
16/02/2018 15:16 GMT | Updated 16/02/2018 15:16 GMT

From Scotland To The Seychelles: Where The Royals Honeymoon

But where will Harry and Meghan choose?

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have not yet revealed where they will go on honeymoon

It’s still a mystery where Prince Harry and his fiancée Meghan Markle – who are set to tie the knot at Windsor Castle in May – will go on honeymoon after their wedding.

But one thing is clear. “A royal honeymoon takes a lot of planning,” former royal butler Grant Harrold explains. “Not for the obvious reasons, but from the point of view of privacy and security, which is paramount to the royal family. 

“The location needs to be private enough in order for the newlyweds to be able to escape the eye of the media.”

This may help explain, at least in part, why the honeymoon destinations of royal newlyweds –  and for how long – have differed massively over the years.

Long-standing royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams says there’s one location that ticks all the boxes for Harry and Meghan and would be a first for modern royals.

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Experts say it's likely the royal couple will travel to Botswana after their wedding 

“Africa is a place where the couple feel so totally at home,” he explains.

Not only have Harry and Meghan travelled extensively around Botswana together, but the prince designed his bride-to-be’s engagement ring with a huge diamond from the country.

“The Africa link is one that would appeal emotionally to both of them,” Fitzwilliams says.

“Don’t forget that the prince is also very dedicated to Africa – he founded a charity in Lesotho years ago to help sufferers of HIV and Aids.”

* * * *

Prince William and Kate Middleton also bucked royal trends when choosing their honeymoon destination back in 2011.

Rather than spending time on one of the royal estates after their Westminster Abbey wedding, as William’s parents and grandparents had done, the couple spent the entirety of their 10-day getaway on North Island in the Seychelles.

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The pressure leading up to William and Kate's huge wedding would have been 'massive', says royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams

Described as a luxury paradise, the secluded, privately-run island boasts untouched beaches, “lush tropical palms” and just 11 lodges, which cost from around £5,500-a-night.

According to Fitzwilliams, Kate and William – who had visited the island once before in 2007 – returned after their wedding “so they could be as alone as they possibly could be”.

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Prince William and Kate Middleton opted for the secluded paradise of North Island in the Seychelles for their honeymoon 

“The pressure mounting up to their wedding, which was a semi-state occasion attended by 2,000 people, would have been massive,” he explains.

“North Island’s big draw is that it is overwhelmingly private.”

But the couple weren’t able to escape for long. Kate and William were limited to 10 days due to the prince’s RAF duties and an upcoming official visit to Canada and the USA.

* * * *

The royals have traditionally chosen to honeymoon in Britain.

When Prince Albert tied the knot with Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1923 – the first time a royal prince had married a “commoner” in 250 years – their honeymoon was a “best of British” affair.

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Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon and Prince Albert on their honeymoon at Polesden Lacey in 1923

The newlyweds chose to spend most of their five week break at Polesden Lacey, the weekend party house of iconic Edwardian socialite Maggie Greville.

The sumptuous Surrey manor, renovated by Ritz architects and boasting its own gold saloon, is set on a 1,400 acre estate, where the royal couple are said to have spent much of their time walking and playing golf.

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The pair are said to have spent much of their honeymoon walking and golfing 

But Albert and Elizabeth’s trip had a rather less glamorous end when, upon visiting her parents’ Scottish home Glamis Castle, the new Duchess of York developed a nasty case of whooping cough.

“It’s not a very romantic disease,” she later commented.

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The young couple were hosted by iconic Edwardian socialite Maggie Graville at her weekend party house 

* * * *

Over the course of their record-breaking 70-year marriage, the Queen and Prince Philip have travelled all over the world as part of their royal duties, including in Kenya, Bermuda, Tonga and Australia.

But amid the austerity of post-war Britain in 1947, the newly-married couple decided to remain close to home for their honeymoon, says royal expert Victoria Howard.

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The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh spent much of their winter honeymoon in Broadlands, Hampshire 

Rather than jetting off to sunnier climes, the pair started their three-week winter break at Broadlands, the 18th century Hampshire estate of Philip’s uncle, the Earl of Mountbatten.  

“Like many royal honeymoons they chose a secluded spot, away from London and away from royal life,” explains Howard, founder and editor of royal news website The Crown Chronicles. 

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The newlyweds were joined by the princess' favourite corgi, Susan 

But the couple were not completely alone, as Elizabeth’s bridesmaid Lady Pamela Hicks described ahead of their platinum wedding anniversary last year.

“Princess Elizabeth was delighted to discover that Susan, her favourite corgi, had been hidden under a rug in her carriage so that she could join them for their honeymoon at Broadlands,” she told the Daily Mail.

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The couple spent the remainder of their trip at Balmoral, in the Highlands 

After enjoying the parklands of the Grade II listed manor – where Elizabeth and Philip spent much of their time deerstalking – the pair rounded off their trip with a visit to Birkhall, a grand hunting lodge in the grounds of Balmoral Castle, said to be the Queen’s favourite royal residence.

“It’s the most beautiful place on earth,” her granddaughter Princess Eugenie has previously said. “I think Granny is the most happy there.”

* * * *

“Charles and Diana’s wedding was the most spectacular in British royal history,” says royal commentator Fitzwilliams.

Some 3,000 people packed into the opulent St Paul’s Cathedral to see the bride walk down the aisle in her now iconic Emanuel wedding gown, and the Queen hosted a sumptuous four-course banquet at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the occasion.

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Prince Charles and Princess Diana on the Royal Yacht Britannia in Gibraltar at the start of their honeymoon cruise 

The newly-married couple, who travelled to the palace by carriage, were cheered by the huge crowds who had gathered to celebrate the wedding.

“You couldn’t have anything grander,” Fitzwilliams adds. “It was an enormously momentous occasion.”  

The couple’s three-month-long honeymoon was no less lavish.

Travelling from Waterloo on the royal train, the newlyweds spent the first three days of their trip in Broadlands, following in the footsteps of Charles’ parents.

They then cruised around the Mediterranean on the Royal Yacht Britannia for almost two weeks, visiting Tunisia, Sardinia, Greece and Egypt.

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The newlyweds by the river at Balmoral after returning from their cruise of the Med 

The lengthy trip was rounded off with an extended stay at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, where the rest of the royal family had already gathered for their annual holiday.

“It was truly sybaritic,” says Fitzwilliams. “You wouldn’t find a honeymoon of that scale contemplated today.

“But I don’t remember any criticism for it – it was a time of enormous rejoicing nationally.”

That is not to say the royal honeymoon was completely without controversy.

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“You wouldn’t find a honeymoon of that scale contemplated today'

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain boycotted Charles and Diana’s wedding after it was revealed the couple would start their honeymoon cruise of the Med in Gibraltar.

Known as “The Rock”, the British Overseas Territory has long been a major point of contention between the two nations, with Spain continuing to claim the island as their own.

The Spanish government slammed the decision for Charles and Diana to travel to the island as “inopportune, gratuitous and mistaken”.

* * * *

Compared to the grand opulence of Prince Charles’ first wedding, his 2005 union to Camilla Parker Bowles was a much more understated affair.

Swapping St Paul’s Cathedral for a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall and a lavish banquet at Buckingham Palace for a quaint English buffet, the heir-to-the-throne’s two weddings could not have been more different.

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The couple spent the first part of their break at Balmoral in the Highlands  

But his second honeymoon was remarkably similar to the first, kicking off with a brief stay at Balmoral, where Charles and Diana had holidayed together after their wedding back in 1981.

“The Princess of Wales reportedly loathed her time in Scotland, hating the isolation and outdoorsy nature of the place,” says Howard.

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Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall during their 2005 honeymoon in Scotland 

“Charles and Camilla, however, loved their time in Scotland for their honeymoon - they are quite an outdoorsy couple.”

Like Princess Diana before her, Camilla then set off for a 10 day cruise of the Mediterranean with her new husband, taking a tour of the Greek islands.

“It’s worth noting that the Duchess of Cornwall is terrified of flying,” Howard adds.