While she cut down her duties in the latter part of her life, it’s no secret the Queen has had plenty of royal engagements, with much of her reign spent zipping all over the world, and the country. To help her get around in comfort and style, it’s a little-known fact that the Queen had her own private train – a sublime set of carriages known as the Royal Train.
The Royal Train has been in service since 1842, less than 20 years after the launch of the steam train. It was developed for Queen Adelaide, the wife King William IV – who was the uncle of the future Queen Victoria.
With the world going mad for railways, the train fast become the royal family’s ‘favourite way to travel’ – according to Channel 5’s Secrets of the Royal Train – allowing them to quickly, discreetly and luxuriously travel across the country. To this day the train was used frequently by the Queen and her husband Phillip, and also as a smart way of travelling King Charles and his wife Camilla, the Queen Consort.
Shortly after her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, also took a ride on the train with the Queen to a day of engagements in Cheshire.
Hiding beneath the claret livery lies a world of splendour, with the train consisting of sleeper, lounge and dining carriages – with the dining carriage seating 12 people. The current rolling stock dates from 1977-1987, with the earliest royal coaches from the mid-19th century.
The train is said to also feature a ‘super-luxe’ smoking room along with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms.
According to The Telegraph, the royal family usually makes around 15 trips a year at a cost of £800,000 a year (as of 2017). While we’ll never step on board the train, a carriage used by Queen Victoria – and decked out in her finery – is on display at the National Railway Museum in York.