Look Back at Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s Most Memorable Travels and Royal Tours
Over her decades as the queen of the United Kingdom and the head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II has made many trips and royal tours. And Prince Philip, her husband since 1947, has accompanied her on many of her travels. Below, check out our favorite photos of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s most memorable trips to countries around the world.
Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip honeymooned in Scotland
- Date: November 25, 1947
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip have always spent time traveling together. But they didn’t always choose distant destinations. When they first got married, then-Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip opted to honeymoon close to home, visiting Earl Mountbatten’s Broadlands estate in Hampshire, England, and then staying at the Balmoral Estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
Next: When Philip had work to do in this location, Elizabeth moved abroad, too.
Philip went to Malta, so Elizabeth joined him
- Date: March 28, 1950
Elizabeth and Philip have not only traveled internationally but also spent a few years living abroad. The Times of Malta notes that the couple lived in Malta — an archipelago between Sicily and the North African coast — for periods of time between 1949 and 1951. Philip was serving in the Royal Navy’s Mediterranean Fleet, and The Telegraph reports that the couple spent two years living at the Villa Guardamangia in Valletta, enjoying “the sort of carefree existence denied to them ever since the Queen’s accession.”
Next: Queen Elizabeth II made history by meeting with these American leaders.
Elizabeth has met numerous American presidents, some in Washington, D.C.
- Date: November 5, 1951
Since Queen Elizabeth II assumed the throne in 1952, 11 U.S. presidents have held office. As a show of international diplomacy, she’s met with almost all of them (including Donald Trump). The first American president whom Elizabeth, then Princess Elizabeth, met was Harry S. Truman, who received Elizabeth and Philip on a 1951 state visit to Washington, D.C. Truman was the only U.S. president to meet Elizabeth when she was still a princess.
Next: This became Queen Elizabeth II’s most-visited destination.
Canada became Queen Elizabeth II’s most-visited country
- Date: November 2, 1951
While Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were in North America, they also traveled to Canada, making their first royal tour of Canada in 1951. The Toronto Sun reported in 2015 that “Queen Elizabeth flies above her ancestors as the most traveled monarch in history — and her most visited country happens to be Canada.” Queen Elizabeth II has visited Canada a total of 24 times during her reign. During her 1951 visit with Prince Philip, the royal couple met with a group of Native American chiefs, including Chief Andrew Bannon of the Ojiway Tribe, pictured above.
Next: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited this attraction, like any other travelers.
They even visited Niagara Falls
- Date: October 1951
When they visited Canada in 1951, the future Queen Elizabeth II and her husband went sightseeing like any other tourists and took the time to stop by Niagara Falls. According to the Niagara Falls Review, Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip “walked to the brink of the Horseshoe Falls and became like millions of other sightseers over the years.” Reportedly, the British royals “remarked that the falls were ‘magnificent’ and ‘tremendous’ as they chatted with Mayor Hawkins and Niagara Parks Commission chairman Charles Daley.”
Next: They were in this country when Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II.
The royal couple visited Kenya, where Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II
- Date: February 3, 1952
Early in 1952, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited Kenya. Kenya occupies an important place in the history of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, as Princess Elizabeth was in Kenya when she learned that her father had died and that she had become the queen of the United Kingdom. A photographer captured this snapshot on February 3. Just a few days later, Elizabeth and Philip arrived at the Treetops Hotel, in the branches of a mgumu tree. They watched elephants and rhinoceroses gather at a watering hole, then turned in for the night. Early in the morning on February 6, King George VI died peacefully in his sleep 4,000 miles away, and Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II.
Next: They visited this Polynesian nation.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited Tonga
- Date: December 29, 1953
After her coronation in 1953, Queen Elizabeth II had numerous official duties, including continuing to travel to other countries, whether they were members of the Commonwealth or former British colonies or not. Late in the year, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited Tonga, which was a protected state under a Treaty of Friendship with Britain. This Polynesian archipelago consists of 169 islands, only 36 of which are inhabited.
Next: The couple spent two months touring this country.
They spent almost two months in Australia
- Date: February 20, 1954
ABC reports that in 1954, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip “embarked on a six-month grand tour of the Commonwealth.” That included 58 days in Australia, where they visited 57 cities and towns. And as ABC explains, Australians back in the 1950s were very excited to greet the queen. “The Royal Tour was the biggest single event ever organised in Australia,” the publication notes. “An estimated 75% of the population turned out to catch a glimpse of their beloved Queen. In Sydney, more than a million people lined the streets and the harbour to welcome Her Majesty and the Sydney Morning Herald described their welcome as ‘tumultuous.'”
Next: The couple didn’t always get along on the trip.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip had a famous fight in Australia
- Date: March 19, 1954
It was also on the 1954 tour of Australia that Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip had a famous fight. Don’t remember the story? The door of the chalet where the royal couple was staying flew open, and Prince Philip stormed out. Queen Elizabeth II appeared, throwing a tennis racket at him and ordering him to return. Then, Elizabeth “dragged” Philip back into the house. Just a few minutes later, she apologized to a camera crew who happened to catch the moment as they were waiting to film the queen looking at koalas and kangaroos. She explained, “it happens in every marriage.”
Next: They have returned to Australia many times.
They’ve visited Australia many times over the years
- Date: March 5, 1954
The Telegraph notes that Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip have repeatedly visited Australia over the years, traveling there in 1954, 1963, 1970, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1992, 2000, 2002, 2006, and 2011. Why so many visits? Queen Elizabeth II is the Queen of Australia. Australia is a constitutional monarchy, and while it has its own Parliament, Queen Elizabeth II, somewhat controversially, remains Australia’s head of state as per Australian legislation.
Next: They toured this remote destination.
The couple toured the Torres Strait Islands
- Date: 1954
During their travels in 1954, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip also visited the Torres Strait Islands, where they watched local people perform a native war dance and tell the story of Kebisu. The BBC reports that these islands comprise the northernmost part of Australia. While there are at least 274 islands in the Torres Strait — which separates Australia’s Cape York Peninsula from Papua New Guinea — just 17 of them are inhabited.
Next: Queen Elizabeth II visited this country on her 28th birthday.
They visited Ceylon, which would later become Sri Lanka
- Date: April 19, 1954
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s 1954 visit to Ceylon — the British colonial name of the nation which would later become Sri Lanka — coincided with the queen’s 28th birthday. The Guardian reported at the time that in addition to reviewing troops, holding ceremonies, and meeting with dignitaries, the couple also traveled to the University of Ceylon, which Prince Philip officially opened. Alluding to the fact that the university had been operational since 1947, he said, “Like the shopkeepers of London during the bombing, I can declare this place to be more open than usual.”
Next: These animals helped welcome Elizabeth and Philip to the country.
140 elephants took part in a ceremony to welcome the queen
- Date: April 19, 1954
The Guardian reports that during their trip to Ceylon, Prince Philip took the opportunity to film a group of elephants bathing in a river. But that wasn’t the only time that the royal couple saw elephants on their trip. Along with their trainers, a total of 140 trained elephants — animals who have long featured in traditional celebrations in Sri Lanka — took part in a Raja Perahera ceremony to welcome Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip to Ceylon.
Next: They traveled to this African nation.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip traveled to Nigeria
- Date: February 2, 1956
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip took a royal tour to Nigeria in 1956. Their visit was celebrated with great fanfare, and they were even picked up at the airport in a Rolls-Royce. At the time, Nigeria was still under British colonial rule, but the country became independent in 1960. But even after it achieved independence, the country retained Queen Elizabeth II as the nominal head of state and Queen of Nigeria.
Next: They visited this African country, at least in part for political reasons.
The couple visited Ghana to reinforce ties with the Commonwealth
- Date: November 1961
In 1961, Queen Elizabeth II visited Ghana, where she famously shared a dance with the new leader of the former colony, Kwame Nkrumah. Ghana had just become the first colony in sub-Saharan Africa after South Africa to gain independence from British rule, which it achieved in 1957. NPR notes that the queen’s visit formed part of a broad strategy to strengthen Commonwealth links and limit Soviet influence in ex-colonies.
Next: They visited another African nation that had just gained its independence.
On the same trip, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited Sierra Leone
- Date: December 4, 1961
During their royal tour of several African countries, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip also stopped in Sierra Leone, a West African country that remained a British colony until April 1961. In this photo, the royal couple watches Susu dancers in Sierra Leone’s Northern Province. The Susu are a major Mandé ethnic group living in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and, to a smaller extent, in Senegal.
Next: These are the dancers whom Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip watched.
They watched traditional dances during their time in Sierra Leone
- Date: November 29, 1961
This photo shows some of the dancers who performed a traditional devil dance in front of Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Durbar in Bo, Sierra Leone. The dance was part of what OkayAfrica characterizes as a “rowdy, multi-sensorial, communal art tradition that dates back to the earliest days of the Sierra Leonean colony.” While British missionaries condemned African masks as “devils,” many Africans in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, “turned insult into a mark of cultural advocacy and pride.”
Next: They visited this country, where few photographs were taken at the time.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited Ethiopia
- Date: February 1965
In 1965, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip traveled to Ethiopia, an East African country that was only ever briefly colonized by Europeans. The BBC notes that at the time that the British royal couple visited Ethiopia, few people in the country had access to — or permission to use — a camera. But Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was photographed greeting Queen Elizabeth II, wearing a field marshal’s uniform and a lion’s mane helmet, according to The Guardian.
Next: They received a warm welcome despite political tension in this country.
The royal couple traveled to Sudan, later known as North Sudan
- Date: February 11, 1965
In 1965, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip also traveled to Sudan, which has been known as North Sudan since the independence of South Sudan. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office reports that even though the royal couple arrived in the Sudanese capital at a time of political tension, “Sudan gave Her Majesty a very hospitable welcome.”
Next: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip made an extensive tour of this region.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip traveled to the Caribbean
- Date: March 1966
Most people consider the Caribbean a perfect vacation destination. But when Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited the Caribbean in 1966, they weren’t there to relax on the beach or to go sightseeing. They made numerous stops on the journey, many of them British overseas territories. The couple met dignitaries in Barbados, British Guiana, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Dominica, Montserrat, Antigua, Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla (which later gained independence as the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis), the British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas, and Jamaica.
Next: The couple paid their respects at a memorial in this country.
They visited a war memorial in Turkey
- Date: October 25, 1971
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited Turkey for the first time in 1971. During that trip, they visited the Gallipoli peninsula to lay wreaths on the memorials to the thousands of Allied soldiers who died there during the Gallipoli Campaign of the First World War. They also honored the tens of thousands who fought and died years later, attending a ceremony at the Cenotaph in London.
Next: They visited this country, which later split apart.
The couple has also visited countries that no longer exist, including Yugoslavia
- Date: October 17, 1972
During their decades of traveling, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip have visited many countries. That includes countries that no longer exist on the map, such as Yugoslavia. The queen, along with Prince Philip and Princess Anne, spent four days in 1972 with President Josip Broz Tito. Tito remained president until his death in 1980, and the constituent republics of Yugoslavia split apart in the 1990s.
Next: They went back to one of their favorite African destinations.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip returned to Kenya
- Date: 1972
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip also traveled to Africa in 1972, returning to Africa to visit Kenya. They’d been married for decades by that point. But body language experts point to photos taken on their trip to Kenya as evidence that Philip still loves and adores Elizabeth as he did when they were newlyweds. And it wasn’t the only time when photographers captured snapshots showing the close relationship between the two.
Next: They watched a horse race in this European country.
The royal couple visited France, where they had time to watch a horserace
- Date: May 1972
When traveling on royal tours and state visits, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip stay pretty focused on the business at hand. But photographers accompanying them on their travels have captured plenty of sweet moments between the royals over the years. One of our favorite images of the two? This shot, taken in May 1972, when Elizabeth and Philip attended a horserace at Longchamp racecourse. They were in the midst of a five-day visit to France.
Next: Another member of the royal family went with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip to France.
Prince Charles accompanied his parents to France
- Date: May 1972
Early in their marriage, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip often left their children at home in England when they undertook royal tours and made state visits. But particularly as the years went by — and the children grew up a little — they sometimes took the kids along. Prince Charles accompanied his parents on their 1972 visit to France, and a photographer captured a shot of Charles with his mother in a convertible in Avignon.
Next: The couple watched a unique tradition in this South Pacific nation.
They watched land-diving in Vanuatu
- Date: February 22, 1974
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip have seen many spectacular sights on their travels. One of the most fascinating? Land-diving on Pentecost Island in Vanuatu, off the northeast coast of Australia. CNN reports that this tradition “sees men climb flimsy 100-foot wooden towers and dive headfirst into empty space, with nothing to break their fall but vines tied their ankles.”
Next: They took Prince Andrew on a visit to this East African country.
The couple visited Tanzania, with Prince Andrew in tow
- Date: July 18, 1979
Prince Charles wasn’t the only child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip who accompanied the royal couple on tours and trips. During a 1979 visit to Tanzania in East Africa, the royal couple was accompanied by Prince Andrew, who was just 19 years old at the time. Tanzania is an East African country that remained under British rule from the end of World War I through the 1960s.
Next: They had an audience with this famous figure.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip had an audience with the Pope
- Date: October 1980
In October 1980, Queen Elizabeth II made history by becoming the first British monarch to visit the Vatican. According to The BBC, Pope John Paul II welcomed the queen and the Duke of Edinburgh for a “warm and relaxed” encounter. The visit took place on a royal tour of Italy.
Next: They viewed an incredible archaeological find in this country.
The royal couple traveled to China
- Date: October 16, 1986
In 1986, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip traveled to China, where they visited the Museum of the Qin Dynasty in Xi’an, Shaanxi province. There, they saw some of the terracotta army, which as National Geographic reports, had just been discovered in 1974. Archaeologists found thousands of clay soldiers “in trenchlike, underground corridors. In some of the corridors, clay horses are aligned four abreast; behind them are wooden chariots.” The publication explains that the soldiers form part of an elaborate mausoleum for the first emperor of China.
Next: They watched a traditional dance each time they visited this country.
The royal couple visited Singapore
- Date: October 10, 1989
Queen Elizabeth II has visited Singapore a few times, in 1972, 1989, and 2006. The British ruled the island for 144 years, but Singapore became independent in the 1960s. During each of her visits, the queen watched a lion dance, a tradition meant to drive out bad luck and bring good fortune. It first appeared in Singapore courtesy of Chinese migrants who moved there in the 19th century, and forms of the tradition continue not only in Singapore, but also in China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Tibet, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
Next: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip have also traveled to the United States.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip have visited the United States
- Date: May 14, 1991
Queen Elizabeth II has visited the United States several times over the course of her reign, making visits in 1957, 1959, 1976, 1983, 1991, and 2007. During her 1991 trip, she visited several cities: Washington, Arlington, Baltimore, Miami, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, and Saint Louis. In Arlington, she and Prince Philip walked up the stairs to the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the tomb.
Next: They regularly visit the Caribbean.
During a tour of the Caribbean, they traveled to Anguilla
- Date: February 19, 1994
The Telegraph reports that because there are so many Commonwealth nations in the Caribbean, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip have made this region a regular travel destination. “Her 1994 visit was especially detailed,” the publication notes. The royal yacht Brittania spent two weeks “to moor off Anguilla, Dominica, Guyana, Belize, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica and the Bahamas (as well as Bermuda). Flashbulb moments included a guard of honour upon the quayside in the Bahamian capital Nassau, and a display by Ashanti dancers in Montego Bay, Jamaica.” In the photo above, the queen watches Anguillan boys on stilts.
Next: They traveled to this British territory in the North Atlantic.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited Bermuda
- Date: March 8, 1994
A photographer captured this colorful photo of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s 1994 tour of the Caribbean in Bermuda. There, the royal couple spoke with members of the H and N Gombeys, a native Bermudian dance troop, at the Botanical Garden. Bermuda was the last stop on their trip. Even though many people go island-hopping when they visit the Caribbean, Elizabeth and Philip undoubtedly kept much busier than your average vacationers.
Next: Queen Elizabeth II made an important visit to this country.
They even made history by visiting Russia
- Date: October 20, 1994
It’s not just warm, tropical destinations that Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip have chosen for royal visits. The couple made history in 1994 when the queen became the only British monarch in history to visit Russia. Elizabeth and Philip stayed at the Kremlin during their three-day visit, and at least in Russia, the trip was cited as evidence of Russia’s break with its totalitarian past.
Next: The queen struck up a friendship with this South African icon.
She became friends with Nelson Mandela of South Africa
- Date: March 20, 1995
Queen Elizabeth II has often been said to have had an “extraordinary relationship” with Nelson Mandela. In May 1994, Mandela became South Africa’s president, and the following month, the nation rejoined the Commonwealth. They began a long friendship. And as Royal Central explains, “Nelson Mandela always referred to Her Majesty as ‘my dear friend Elizabeth’, their friendship was so close that protocol simply became cast aside.”
Next: She offered an apology when visiting this country.
Queen Elizabeth II offered a royal apology when she visited New Zealand
- Date: November 2, 1995
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited New Zealand for the first time back in 1953, when the royals offended many Māori people with travel plans that didn’t give the queen enough time to see the diversity and tribal differences among the Māori. Later, the queen apologized for something bigger. Protesters during a 1990 visit appealed to the queen to honor the Treaty of Waitangi. And she returned in 1995 to sign into law the Tainui Settlement Bill, which apologized to the Tainui Maori tribal confederation for land the British colonial government seized in the 19th century.
Next: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited this Muslim-majority country.
The couple traveled to Brunei
- Date: September 17, 1998
In 1998, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip made a trip to Brunei, a small Asian nation that is almost completely surrounded by Malaysia. A former British colony, Brunei gained its independence in 1984. The queen has never publicly shared her personal opinion on British colonialism, given that she does not comment on political matters. But during her reign, the United Kingdom has undergone “the transition from colonial empire to cosmopolitan Commonwealth,” as The New York Times puts it. She seems to have embraced that change.
Next: The royal couple took these small travel companions with them.
The queen’s beloved corgis went to Brunei and Malaysia, too
- Date: September 16, 1998
When Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip traveled to Brunei and Malaysia in 1998, they had some other travel companions with them, too: the queen’s beloved corgis. In addition to walking them around the grounds of Buckingham Palace, feeding them catered food, and making them a part of the royal family, the queen often took the dogs with her when she traveled. She even took her corgi, Susan, along on her honeymoon with Prince Philip.
Next: They returned to this African nation decades after their first visit.
The couple returned to Ghana, decades after their first visit
- Date: November 8, 1999
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited Ghana again in 1999, about 40 years after the former colony removed the monarch as head of state. The BBC reports that as the queen descended from their chartered plane, “traditional dancers and drummers sang her praises in the Ga language, with the chorus: ‘It has come to pass.'” As the BBC noted, Ghana in 1999 was a “very different nation to the optimistic one they last visited in 1961, four years after Ghana gained independence,” with coups, political unrest, and years of military rule taking a toll.
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