Where Every British Royal Couple Went for Their Honeymoons (and Where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Probably Went)
After the stress of a royal wedding, a relaxing honeymoon is probably a welcome escape. Country Living reports that the tradition of taking a honeymoon actually originated in 19th century Britain (though it looked very different back then than it does now). In the years since, British royals — including Meghan Markle and Prince Harry — have taken memorable honeymoons and chosen beautiful destinations for their getaways.
Below, learn where every British royal couple went for their honeymoons. And find out where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle probably went on page 13.
Queen Elizabeth and King George VI
- Wedding date: April 26, 1923
- Honeymoon destination: Polesden Lacey in Surrey
Town & Country reports that after being introduced to him in 1920, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon rejected the future king’s proposal twice. She felt wary of the responsibility and sacrifices that would go along with joining the British royal family. But she eventually agreed to become his wife, and the couple married in 1923. For their honeymoon, the couple spent two weeks at Polesden Lacey, an Edwardian manor house in Surrey.
Fun fact: The couple later had two children: Princess Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth II, and Princess Margaret.
Next: Nobody from the royal family attended this couple’s wedding.
King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson
- Wedding date: June 3, 1937
- Honeymoon destination: Gailtal, Austria
King Edward VIII had to marry American divorcée Wallis Simpson in secret, after the king abdicated the throne in 1936. (As the head of the Church of England, Edward could not marry a woman who was divorced. So he renounced the throne to be with the woman he loved.) The couple had fewer than 20 guests in attendance at their wedding at Château de Candé in France’s Loire Valley. For their honeymoon, the couple traveled to Gailtal, Austria, and stayed at the castle of Schloss Wasserleonburg.
Fun fact: The wedding was so secretive that photos weren’t released to the public until 80 years later. The new king, George VI, prohibited members of the royal family from attending.
Next: This couple married after a decade of courtship.
Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten
- Wedding date: November 20, 1947
- Honeymoon destination: Broadlands House and Balmoral Castle
The current queen of England first met her future husband in 1934, at the wedding of Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, according to Town & Country. After more than a decade of courtship, the couple announced their engagement in 1947. (Philip had proposed in the summer of 1946, and Elizabeth accepted without consulting her parents.) The couple married at Westminster Abbey. They then spent their royal honeymoon at Broadlands House in Hampshire and then at Birkhall Lodge, part of Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
Fun fact: The couple took somebody else along on their honeymoon: Susan, the princess’s beloved Pembroke Welsh corgi.
Next: This couple went on a six-week cruise for their royal honeymoon.
Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon
- Wedding date: May 6, 1960
- Honeymoon destination: The Caribbean
Town & Country reports that Princess Margaret, the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II, was the first British royal whose wedding was broadcast on television. In 1959, she had accepted the proposal of photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, whom the queen later made the Earl of Snowdon. The couple married at Westminster Abbey with about 2,000 guests in attendance. They spent their honeymoon on a six-week cruise aboard the royal yacht Brittania, exploring Caribbean islands including Trinidad and Antigua.
Fun fact: While most honeymooners today would pack a lot of sunscreen for a six-week Caribbean cruise, the press reported that Margaret and Antony returned from their honeymoon looking “extremely bronzed.”
Next: This couple met at a party for equestrians.
Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips
- Wedding date: November 14, 1973
- Honeymoon destination: The Caribbean
Town & Country reports that Princess Anne, the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, married Mark Phillips, a lieutenant in the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards, at Westminster Abbey. They met at a party for horse lovers, and their courtship and marriage revolved around a mutual love of horses. The couple spent their honeymoon aboard the royal yacht Brittania, traversing the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Fun fact: The couple’s cruise around the Caribbean was disrupted by violent storms and 20-foot waves. However, the weather cleared in time for them to end their trip in the Galapagos Islands.
Next: This royal bride used her honeymoon to catch up on sleep.
Princess Diana and Prince Charles
- Wedding date: July 29, 1981
- Honeymoon destination: The Mediterranean
Town & Country reports that Diana and Charles first met in 1977. Their relationship intensified in 1980, when Prince Charles invited her to spend a weekend at Balmoral, the royal family’s Scottish residence. They married just a year later, at St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1981, and spent their honeymoon sailing the Mediterranean aboard the royal yacht Brittania. After the sailing trip, they visited Scotland, where the rest of the royal family had gathered at Balmoral.
Next: The royal jet said “Just married” for this couple.
Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew
- Wedding date: July 23, 1986
- Honeymoon destination: The Azores Islands
Prince Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, knew future wife Sarah Ferguson when they were children. Town & Country reports that they became “romantically linked” after meeting at a party at Floors Castle. They got married four months after Andrew proposed, in a wedding at Westminster Abbey. They spent part of their honeymoon in the Azores Islands, off the coast of Portugal. Then, they went for a five-day sail in the Atlantic aboard the Brittania.
Fun fact: When they flew to the Azores Islands, the back door of the royal jet was emblazoned with the words, “Just married.”
Next: This couple kept things simple on their honeymoon.
Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones
- Wedding date: June 19, 1999
- Honeymoon destination: Balmoral Castle
The youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II met his future wife in 1987, but didn’t begin dating her until 1993. They announced their engagement in 1999 and married the same year. Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones — now the Earl and Countess of Wessex — made history with their wedding at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. As Town & Country puts it, they kept their honeymoon simple by visiting Birkhall Lodge at Balmoral in Scotland.
Fun fact: The children carrying the train of Sophie’s wedding gown were all commoners, a first in royal family history.
Next: This royal couple had a civil ceremony instead of a church service.
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles
- Wedding date: April 9, 2005
- Honeymoon destination: Scotland and Greece
The second time Prince Charles got married — this time to Camilla Parker Bowles — he opted for a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall and a blessing at Windsor Castle afterward. It was actually the second marriage for both of them, and the couple had known each other since 1971. They began their honeymoon in Scotland, at Birkhall on the Balmoral Estate. They then took a cruise to explore a variety of Greek islands.
Fun fact: The couple had planned to hold the civil service at Windsor Castle, but changed their plans when the royal family learned that it would have to make the venue available to the public for other civil ceremonies.
Next: This royal couple chose their honeymoon destination based on a discount.
Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly
- Wedding date: May 17, 2008
- Honeymoon destination: South Africa
Peter Phillips, the only son of Princess Anne and her first husband, Mark Phillips, met his future wife, Autumn Kelly, in 2003. Town & Country reports that, like many other royal couples, the pair held their wedding at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. But they departed from the precedents set by past royal honeymoons when they chose their honeymoon destination: the Tuningi Safari Lodge in South Africa.
Fun fact: The couple found themselves at the center of a controversy when it came to light that they got a discounted rate at the lodge in exchange for the release of three images of them on their honeymoon.
Next: This royal bride didn’t know where the groom was taking her on their honeymoon.
Prince William and Kate Middleton
- Wedding date: April 29, 2011
- Honeymoon destination: The Seychelles
Prince William’s love life had long been a topic of speculation for British tabloids, which chronicled his relationship with Kate Middleton. (They had been classmates at the University of St. Andrew’s, and broke up and then reconciled.) The couple became engaged in 2010 and married at Westminster Abbey in 2011. After spending their first weekend as newlyweds in the United Kingdom, they then went on a honeymoon to a private island, named North Island, in the Seychelles.
Fun fact: It was rumored that not even Kate knew where they were going on their honeymoon, and that William planned the whole trip as a surprise.
Next: This couple delayed their honeymoon.
Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall
- Wedding date: July 30, 2011
- Honeymoon destination:
Zara Phillips, the oldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II and the daughter of Princess Anne, also got married in 2011. An accomplished equestrian herself, Phillips married rugby player Mike Tindall eight years after meeting him during England’s Rugby World Cup-winning campaign in Australia, according to Town & Country. They got married at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland. For their honeymoon, they traveled to the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, where they stayed at the Columbia Beach Resort near Limassol.
Fun fact: They didn’t go on their honeymoon right after their wedding, but instead delayed the trip for three months.
Next: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry managed to go on a much longer honeymoon than you’d expect.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry took a two-week honeymoon
Though they married on May 19,2018, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle didn’t depart for their honeymoon immediately after their wedding. But Elle reports that they reportedly squeezed in a two-week holiday between public appearances. They attended Prince Charles’s 70th birthday party just days after their May 19 wedding, and were conspicuously absent until the Trooping the Colour celebration for Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday.
We don’t know for sure where they went for their honeymoon, but we have a few theories.
Next: These are the places where the couple might have gone on their honeymoon.
They might have gone to Canada — or to a country in Africa
According to Elle, rumor has it that the couple honeymooned at Jasper Park Lodge in Alberta’s Jasper National Park. The park is home to the 6,000-square-foot Outlook Cabin, where King George VI, the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II, and Prince Philip have all stayed, according to Vogue. But the Canadian resort denied that Meghan and Harry had booked a stay there. As did the Fairmont hotel in Toronto, which appeared in reports from TMZ. Other possible destinations? Botswana or Zambia, according to Elle. And People reports that Ireland and South Africa also made the list of possibilities. And Vogue reports that Namibia is also in the running.
Next: They didn’t nail down their plans until shortly before the wedding.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle changed plans several times
Elle learned that Harry and Meghan’s honeymoon destination changed several times during the planning process. And rumors about their plans were one factor. If the location leaks prior to their departure, their protection team would advise them to change plans. And supposedly, they still hadn’t booked a destination just a month before the wedding. It seems that the two have no problem being spontaneous when they travel.
Read more: Here’s What Happens When Royals Get Divorced
Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!