52 photos show how royal tours have evolved throughout history

Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty ImagesCatherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge ring the Peace Bell during their royal tour of Northern Ireland on March 3, 2020.
  • 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.

Chancellor/Sean Sexton/Getty ImagesQueen Victoria (1819 – 1901) parades through Dublin with her royal entourage circa 1900.

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.

The Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media/Getty ImagesThe Duke and Duchess of York attend an official function in Sydney, March 29, 1927.

1939: King George VI and Queen Elizabeth waved as they departed on a train following their 1939 royal tour of America.

Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesKing George VI (1895 – 1952) and Queen Elizabeth (1900 – 2002) wave from the observation platform of their train as they leave America in 1939.

1947: Princess Elizabeth met with a local mayor during the Royal Tour of South Africa.

Rolls Press/Popperfoto/Getty ImagesPrincess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) pictured talking to a local mayor at an event at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth 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.

Getty Images/Fox Photos/Hulton ArchivesThe queen during a 1954 tour of Australia.

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.

Source: Tatler

1957: Queen Elizabeth II was escorted to the White House by a motorcade during her tour of the United States.

Popperfoto/Getty ImagesThe motorcade taking HM, Queen Elizabeth II along Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House shows a warm welcome for the monarch in October 1957.

1957: Queen Elizabeth was greeted by Mamie Eisenhower and President Eisenhower on the steps of the White House.

Popperfoto/Getty ImagesQueen Elizabeth is greeted by Mamie Eisenhower on the steps of the White House as President Eisenhower left, smiles broadly in October 1957.

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.

Rolls Press/Popperfoto/Getty ImagesQueen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh, pictured sitting in the back seat of an open-top car in Whitehorse, Yukon, during their Canadian tour in 1959.

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.

Source: Wikipedia

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.

Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty ImagesQueen Elizabeth II rides on the back of an elephant during the Queen’s Commonwealth tour of India in January 1961.

1961: Queen Elizabeth also travelled to Pakistan. She is pictured waving as she is driven through the streets of Karachi.

Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesQueen Elizabeth II is driven through the streets of Karachi during the second phase of her tour of Pakistan, February 1, 1961.

1966: During a tour of New Zealand, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother waved to children holding Union flags.

Rolls Press/Popperfoto/Getty ImagesQueen Elizabeth The Queen Mother during a tour of New Zealand in April 1966.

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.

Rolls Press/Popperfoto/Getty ImagesPrince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, wearing formal dress, meets with students and residents in Civic Square, Wellington, during the royal tour of New Zealand in March 1970.

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.

David Levenson/Getty ImagesQueen Elizabeth II being crowned with a headdress of frangipani flowers during the royal tour of the South Pacific in Tuvalu on October 26, 1982.

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.

Anwar Hussein/Getty ImagesPrincess Diana, Princess of Wales, and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, arrive at Sydney Opera House by car on March 28, 1983.

Source: Tatler

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.

Gerrit Fokkema/The Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media/Getty ImagesPrince Charles and Princess Diana visit Ayers Rock (Uluru) during their royal tour of Australia in 1983.

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge would later recreate the iconic photograph during their visit in 2014.

Source: Tatler

1983: Princess Diana was met with an exceptionally warm reception during the couple’s tour of New Zealand and Australia.

David Levenson/Getty ImagesDiana Princess of Wales and Prince Charles wave goodbye as they leave Melbourne Airport on April 17, 1983, at the end of their first tour to Australia.

Source: Tatler,Town and Country

1983: Known as the people’s princess, Princess Diana brought a modern sensibility to the royal family.

David Levenson/Getty ImagesDiana Princess of Wales on a walkabout through the city centre on April 28, 1983, in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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.

The Asahi Shimbun/Getty ImagesPrince Charles, Prince of Wales, and Princess Diana, Princess of Wales, wave to well-wishers during the parade on May 11, 1986, in Tokyo, Japan.

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.

Tim Graham/Getty ImagesPrince Charles during a royal tour of Japan in 1986.

Source: The New York Times

1992: Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ trip to India in 1992 is still remembered today.

Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty ImagesPrincess Diana wearing a garland during her visit to the Marie Stopes Clinic in Agra, India, in 1992.

1992: During their stay, the Princess of Wales met local children, visited the Taj Mahal, and attended a banquet given by President Ramaswamy Venkataraman.

Anwar Hussein/Getty ImagesPrincess Diana bends down to chat with Indian dancers who welcomed her in Hyderabad, India, in February 1992.

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.

John Stillwell – Pool/Getty ImagesQueen Elizabeth II inspects a Guard of Honour outside the Canadian Parliament, after arriving to attend the Canada Day celebrations on July 1, 2010, in Ottawa.

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.

Chris Jackson/Getty ImagesThe couple watch a rodeo demonstration at the BMO Centre on July 7, 2011, in Calgary, Canada.

2011: Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, watched dancers as they arrived at Zanzibar International Airport on November 8, 2011, in Tanzania.

Chris Jackson/Getty ImagesThe smiling couple are pictured during their arrival on November 8, 2011.

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.

Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty ImagesCatherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, visit the Singapore Botanical Gardens.

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.

Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty ImagesCatherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, visit the Assyakirin Mosque.

Read more:

Every time Kate Middleton paid tribute to Pakistan with her royal tour wardrobe

2012: They also travelled in a traditional canoe during a visit to Tavanipupu Island in Honiara, Guadalcanal Island.

Chris Jackson – Pool/Getty ImagesCatherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, travel in a traditional canoe during a visit to Tavanipupu 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.

Chris Jackson/Getty ImagesCamilla, Duchess of Cornwall, during a visit to Borea Village on November 4, 2012, in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

2012: While touring Adelaide, Australia, Charles and Camilla held koala bears and met with local citizens and dignitaries.

Chris Jackson/Getty ImagesPrince Charles holds a koala called Kao whilst Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, holds a koala called Matilda at Government House on November 7, 2012, in Adelaide, Australia.

2013: When Prince Harry paid a visit to the United States he was photographed playing volleyball with British soldiers in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Arthur Edwards – Pool/Getty ImagesPrince Harry plays sitting volleyball with British soldiers as he competes in the Warrior Games during the third day of his visit to the United States on May 11, 2013, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

2014: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in New Zealand for their first official royal tour with Prince George.

Hagen Hopkins/Getty ImagesPrince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince George of Cambridge arrive at Wellington Airport on April 7, 2014.

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.

Phil Noble-Pool/Getty ImagesKate Middleton speaks with children at a ceremony at the war memorial in Seymour Square on April 10, 2014, in the town of Blenheim.

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.

Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty ImagesThe royal couple has fun on the Shotover River on April 13, 2014, in Queenstown, New Zealand.

2014: During their tour of Australia, Prince William and Kate recreated a photograph of Prince Charles and Princess Diana while visiting Ayers Rock.

Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty ImagesThey viewed Ayers Rock at sunset on April 22, 2014.

2016: In March 2016, Prince Harry visited Nepal for the first time following the country’s 2015 earthquakes.

Danny Martindale/WireImage/Getty ImagesPrince Harry visits Homestay on his tour of Bardia National Park on March 21, 2016.

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.

Chris Jackson/Getty ImagesThe Duke and Duchess of Cambridge take in a performance during their royal tour of India in 2016.

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.

Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty ImagesThe family arrive at Victoria airport for the start of their royal tour of Canada on September 24, 2016.

2016: While travelling with their children, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a party for military families in Victoria, Canada.

Chris Jackson – Pool/Getty ImagesThe Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at a children’s party for military families during the royal tour of Canada on September 29, 2016.

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.

Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty ImagesPrince William and Kate make pretzels on July 20, 2017.

2018: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, set out on their first official royal tour as a married couple in October 2018.

Cameron Spencer/Getty ImagesPrince Harry and Meghan meet with health workers as they visit the Royal Flying Doctors Service hangar on October 17, 2018, in Dubbo, Australia.

Their May wedding was watched by an estimated 29 million viewers in the US alone, according to Nielsen.

Source: The Sun, Nielsen

2018: The Duke and Duchess’ casual fashion looks and relaxed approach showed a stark contrast to royal tours of the 1950s and earlier.

Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty ImagesPrince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, visit Bondi Beach on October 19, 2018, in Sydney, Australia.

2018: While visiting New Zealand, Meghan Markle performed a traditional greeting, the Hongi, with the governor-general of New Zealand.

Chris Jackson/Getty ImagesMeghan performing 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.

Phil Noble/Pool/Getty ImagesThe Duchess of Sussex speaking at the University of the South Pacific during her and Prince Harry’s tour of Fiji in October 2018.

Source: Town and Country

2019: While expecting their first child, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle toured Morocco.

Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty ImagesThe Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend a reception hosted by the British ambassador to Morocco during the second day of their tour of Morocco on February 24, 2019.

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.”

Source: People

2019: Prince Charles, who is expected to become the next king, paid a visit to Northern Ireland, along with his wife, Camilla.

Liam McBurney/WPA Pool/Getty ImagesPrince Charles meets pupils from St Patrick’s Grammar School, Armagh, and The Royal School, Armagh, on the second day of his visit to Northern Ireland, on May 22, 2019.

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.”

Source: BBC

2019: During their first royal tour following the birth of their son Archie, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry visited Cape Town, South Africa.

Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty ImagesMeghan, Duchess of Sussex, visits the Nyanga Township with Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, during their royal tour of South Africa on September 23, 2019.

2019: One stop on the royal couple’s tour was Auwal Mosque, the oldest mosque in the country.

Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty ImagesMeghan and Harry visit Auwal Mosque in the Bo-Kaap neighbourhood on September 24, 2019.

Source: Auwal Masjid

2019: While visiting South Africa, the royal couple also met with Nelson Mandela’s widow, Graca Machel.

Chris Jackson/ Getty ImagesThe Duke and Duchess of Sussex meet with Graca Machel while on tour in South Africa in October 2019.

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.

Source: ET, Independent

2019: During the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s most recent royal tour to Pakistan, they both made headlines with their fashion choices.

Star Max/ AP ImagesThe Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Pakistan National Monument on October 15, 2019.

Prince William’s sherwani coat marked the first time a male member of the British royal family has worn traditional Pakistani clothing.

Source: Insider

2019: The following day, Duchess Catherine wore a traditional headpiece while Prince William wore a Chitrali hat.

Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty ImagesThe Duchess and Duke of Cambridge at the Hindu Kush mountains in Chitral, near the Afghan border, on October 16, 2019.

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.

SULTAN AL-HASANI/AFP/Getty ImagesPrince William greets children as he meets with locals in the village of Wadi Arbaeen in eastern Oman on December 4, 2019.

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.

JULIEN BEHAL/JULIEN BEHAL PHOTOGRAPHY /POOL/AFP/Getty ImagesPrince William, Duke of Cambridge signs the visitors book as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge looks on with Ireland’s President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina Coyne.

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

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.