- One of the earliest photographs of a British royal tour is from 1900 when Queen Victoria visited Dublin, Ireland.
- In the early 1980s, “Diana fever” swept across the world as Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited Australia, Tokyo, New Zealand, and more.
- Recently, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made history while visiting Ireland for the first time, 120 years after Queen Victoria.
- From 1900 to 2020, here are more than 50 incredible photos of British royal tours through the years.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories .
British royal tours – complete with pomp and circumstance – have been a tradition for multiple generations.
Photographs of royal visits date back to 1900 when Queen Victoria paraded through the streets of Dublin, Ireland, greeted by throngs of well-wishers.
While Princess Diana drew seemingly never-ending crowds as she and Prince Charles drove through Tokyo, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge recently made history with their first royal visit to Ireland.
As the royal family continues to modernise, royal tours provide an excellent benchmark for how members of the monarchy choose to present themselves to the world.
From 1900 to 2020, here are over 50 incredible photos of British royal tours throughout history.
1900s: One of the earliest photographed royal tours was in 1900 when Queen Victoria visited Cork, Dublin, and Belfast.
Source: Irish Times
1927: The Duke and Duchess of York, who would later become King George VI and Queen Elizabeth I, attended an official function in Sydney, Australia, during their five-week tour of the country.
1939: King George VI and Queen Elizabeth waved as they departed on a train following their 1939 royal tour of America.
1947: Princess Elizabeth met with a local mayor during the Royal Tour of South Africa.
She became Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953, marking the beginning of her 67-year long reign.
Source: The Royal Household
1954: Queen Elizabeth’s 1954 tour is remembered as one of the most ambitious royal tours of all time.
Intended to introduce the new queen to her subjects, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Bermuda, Jamaica, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Tonga, and more during the six-month trip.
1957: Queen Elizabeth II was escorted to the White House by a motorcade during her tour of the United States.
1957: Queen Elizabeth was greeted by Mamie Eisenhower and President Eisenhower on the steps of the White House.
Royal tours are intended to strengthen relationships with the visited countries as well as inspire policy changes.
1959: Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are pictured during their Canadian royal tour.
In the 67 years that Queen Elizabeth has reigned, she has gone on over 100 royal tours throughout the Commonwealth and has completed many state visits as well.
1961: During her Commonwealth tour of India, Queen Elizabeth rode through the Jaipur palace in an elaborate howdah on the back of a decorated elephant.
1961: Queen Elizabeth also travelled to Pakistan. She is pictured waving as she is driven through the streets of Karachi.
1966: During a tour of New Zealand, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother waved to children holding Union flags.
Royal tours can be planned by the UK government or follow an invitation from the visited country.
Source: Town and Country
1970: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, met with students and residents during a royal tour of New Zealand.
1982: The Queen’s royal tour of the South Pacific began in Brisbane, Australia, and ended on the island of Fiji. Upon Queen Elizabeth’s arrival in Fiji, she was greeted by thousands of villagers and officials.
Source: United Press International
1983: Princess Diana and Prince Charles broke royal protocol during their March 1983 royal tour by taking their son, Prince William, along with them on the trip.
1983: One of the most notable photographs from the tour is this photo of Princess Diana and Prince Charles visiting Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock.
Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge would later recreate the iconic photograph during their visit in 2014.
1983: Princess Diana was met with an exceptionally warm reception during the couple’s tour of New Zealand and Australia.
1983: Known as the people’s princess, Princess Diana brought a modern sensibility to the royal family.
She was always eager to meet with people of all ages and backgrounds while travelling through the Commonwealth and other countries.
1986: In what was at the time referred to as “Diana fever,” nearly 100,000 people cheered for Prince Charles and Princess Diana as they drove through the streets of Tokyo.
Source: The New York Times
1986: In Kyoto, Prince Charles admired the peaceful garden of an imperial villa and painted a watercolor of the beautiful scenery.
Source: The New York Times
1992: Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ trip to India in 1992 is still remembered today.
1992: During their stay, the Princess of Wales met local children, visited the Taj Mahal, and attended a banquet given by President Ramaswamy Venkataraman.
Source: ABC News
2010: Queen Elizabeth has only completed three royal tours in the past nine years. She visited Canada in 2010, Australia in 2011, and Malta in 2015. However, Queen Elizabeth has completed multiple state visits.
2011: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, began their first official royal tour as a married couple by travelling to Canada and California.
2011: Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, watched dancers as they arrived at Zanzibar International Airport on November 8, 2011, in Tanzania.
They have been married since 2005.
2012: In September 2012, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Singapore Botanical Gardens as part of their Diamond Jubilee tour, a celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s 60th year as the reigning monarch.
2012: While visiting a mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as part of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Diamond Jubilee tour, Kate donned a traditional headscarf.
2012: They also travelled in a traditional canoe during a visit to Tavanipupu Island in Honiara, Guadalcanal Island.
2012: The Duchess of Cornwall was presented with a traditional necklace during a visit with Prince Charles to Borea Village in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
2012: While touring Adelaide, Australia, Charles and Camilla held koala bears and met with local citizens and dignitaries.
2013: When Prince Harry paid a visit to the United States he was photographed playing volleyball with British soldiers in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
2014: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in New Zealand for their first official royal tour with Prince George.
This marked the first time since Princess Diana’s death that a child had been brought on a royal tour.
2014: Duchess Catherine met with local children while in Blenheim, New Zealand.
While Princess Diana undeniably played a part in modernising the British monarchy, Prince William and Duchess Catherine have similarly helped to create a positive front-facing image for the royal family.
2014: While visiting the country, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge enjoyed themselves by travelling on a Shotover Jet over the Shotover River.
2014: During their tour of Australia, Prince William and Kate recreated a photograph of Prince Charles and Princess Diana while visiting Ayers Rock.
2016: In March 2016, Prince Harry visited Nepal for the first time following the country’s 2015 earthquakes.
While in Nepal, Prince Harry met with President Bidya Devi Bhandari and earthquake victims.
Source: The Royal Household
2016: Kate and William watched traditional dancing while on a royal visit to India and Bhutan.
2016: In their first royal tour as a family of four, Prince William and Duchess Catherine arrived in Victoria, Canada, with their two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
2016: While travelling with their children, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a party for military families in Victoria, Canada.
Before retiring from the Royal Air Force in 2013, Prince William served more than seven years.
Source: The New York Times
2017: During a tour of Poland and Germany, Duchess Catherine and Prince William made pretzels while visiting a German market in Central Square in Heidelberg, Germany.
2018: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, set out on their first official royal tour as a married couple in October 2018.
Their May wedding was watched by an estimated 29 million viewers in the US alone, according to Nielsen.
2018: The Duke and Duchess’ casual fashion looks and relaxed approach showed a stark contrast to royal tours of the 1950s and earlier.
2018: While visiting New Zealand, Meghan Markle performed a traditional greeting, the Hongi, with the governor-general of New Zealand.
For 16 days, the couple toured Australia, Fiji, Tonga, and New Zealand.
Source: The Sun
2018: While visiting the University of the South Pacific during the tour of Fiji, the Duchess of Sussex gave a speech on the importance of women’s education and inclusion in university faculties.
Source: Town and Country
2019: While expecting their first child, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle toured Morocco.
Prior to the trip, a Kensington Palace spokesperson told People, “The Duke and Duchess are looking forward to the visit which will highlight the vital roles that girls’ education and youth empowerment are playing in, and shaping, modern Morocco.”
2019: Prince Charles, who is expected to become the next king, paid a visit to Northern Ireland, along with his wife, Camilla.
According to the BBC, “hundreds of people lined Belfast streets as the royal couple was greeted by the new Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Belfast, John Finucane.”
2019: During their first royal tour following the birth of their son Archie, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry visited Cape Town, South Africa.
2019: One stop on the royal couple’s tour was Auwal Mosque, the oldest mosque in the country.
Source: Auwal Masjid
2019: While visiting South Africa, the royal couple also met with Nelson Mandela’s widow, Graca Machel.
Queen Elizabeth and Nelson Mandela reportedly had a “warm friendship” – he even reportedly called her by her first name. The couple’s trip to South Africa marks their last official royal tour prior to announcing they would be “stepping back” from the royal family and their royal engagements.
2019: During the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s most recent royal tour to Pakistan, they both made headlines with their fashion choices.
Prince William’s sherwani coat marked the first time a male member of the British royal family has worn traditional Pakistani clothing.
2019: The following day, Duchess Catherine wore a traditional headpiece while Prince William wore a Chitrali hat.
Princess Diana also wore a Chitrali hat during her visit to Pakistan in 1991, showing that while some aspects of today’s royal tours are completely different than those of the past, others remain the same.
2019: On Prince William’s recent tour of Kuwait and Oman, he met with environmental activists.
The visit marks the 120th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Friendship with Kuwait and the British Empire. It was Prince William’s first-ever visit to both Kuwait and Oman.
Source: USA Today
2020: In early March, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Ireland for their royal tour of the country.
During their first-ever visit, the couple met with President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins and attended a memorial service at the Garden of Remembrance to honour those who died fighting for Irish independence.
Source: USA Today
- Read more:
- Here’s why Princess Beatrice will become a ‘Countess’ after her royal wedding, not a ‘Duchess’ like Meghan Markle
- The Queen reportedly told Prince Harry that he and Meghan Markle are ‘always welcome’ to return to the royal family
- 8 royal luxuries Meghan Markle and Prince Harry won’t have access to after ‘Megxit’
- Meghan Markle’s estranged brother, Thomas Markle Jr., says she is the reason he became homeless and can’t find a job
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