When Kate Middleton wed Prince William in 2011, she signed up for a life of travel. No more 10-day package tours of Europe or two-day jaunts to Venice or Spain’s beaches. This is royal travel. “We don’t come here for our health,” snapped Prince Philip to a Canadian official on a tour in 1976. “We can think of other ways of enjoying ourselves.” It’s work, with the media and public recording every wave, smile and even the number of teddy bears proffered by children.
On May 11, Kate Middleton, now HRH the Duchess of Cambridge, flies to Luxembourg for a whirlwind one-day trip marking the 150th anniversary of the Treaty of London, which confirmed the small European nation’s independence. She’ll meet Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa as well as attend sports- and arts-related events.
Kate’s royal travel statistics
Since Kate’s first royal visit—to Canada and the United States a few weeks after nuptials—she’s racked up frequent flyer points, even given large gaps in her schedule due to the births of Prince George and Princess Charlotte. For 10 trips, she travelled with Prince William, taking their kids on the family’s last big trip to Canada in 2016. She’s ticked four continents (North America, Europe, Asia and Australia) off her map of the world. Only earlier last year did she fly solo, booking a seat on a regular British Airways plane for a one-day visit sans William to the Netherlands. Now, she’s flying back to Europe for solo trip No. 2.
Details, details, details
Whether the trip is a day trip or a week-long tour, royal officials plan itineraries to the most mind-numbing detail. Spontaneity is definitely not on the agenda. “When elevators are taken, how many? Who’s in elevator A, B and C?,” explained Kevin MacLeod, then Canada’s secretary to the Queen, ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s last trip to Canada in 2010. For every bouquet of flowers donated to hospitals, “If there are cards attached with text, she reads them. If there is a name and address, they’ll get a letter of thanks,” MacLeod said.
Royal travel may not be as glamorous as it looks, but it comes with perks. The former Kate Middleton can’t wander through historic areas unobserved, but she gets preferred airline seating—she’ll never be bumped—as well as exclusive access to hot events and a front-row view of history.