Royal Honeymoon History: Beyond Harry & Meghan

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal honeymoon is just around the corner. So, we thought why not take a bit of a trip back in time to look at some royal honeymoons of kings, queens, and princes past? Read on for a bit of royal honeymoon history!

King George VI & Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother: Scotland & England, 1923

Queen Mother Royal HoneymoonDespite two refusals, Queen Elizabeth (also known as the "Queen Mother") eventually said yes to King George VI's third marriage proposal. The two honeymooned at a manor house called Polesden Lacey in Surrey, England, and then in nearby Scotland, where theit five-week honeymoon seemed to be going well...until the Queen caught whooping cough, cutting the newlywed celebration short.

King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson: Austria, 1937

Wallis Simpson Royal HoneymoonKnown as one of the most secretive royal weddings and honeymons ever, King Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry double-divorcee American Wallis Simpson. Mired in controversy, the pair was known for bucking tradition. In fact, Miss Wallis Simpson was publicly considered a scandalous and promiscuous woman, once even accused of flirting with Adolf Hitler himself. Who knows...maybe that's the secret reason why the two honeymooned in Austria, the nation of Hitler's birth!

Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip: Balmoral, 1947

Queen Elizabeth HoneymoonThis royally-wedded pair honeymooned at Balmoral, an estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland that's a popular royal getaway spot. First off, it's beautiful. Secondly, it's private. Lastly, it's a castle. In other words, it's the perfect way to spend some time with as few staff members and public prying eyes as possible. Because when you're a Queen and a Prince, your lives are filled with a constant buzz of security, staff, pages, planners, coordinators, and handlers. To be able to get away for a while is sometimes as simple as getting away from all those people for some actual time alone. Of course, Balmoral is still filled with royal helpers, but in a castle as big as Balmoral, at least they could give themselves some alone time.

Prince Rainier & Grace Kelly: The Mediterranean and Mallorca, 1956

Grace Kelly Royal HoneymoonWhen Prince Rainier of Monaco announced that he and Hollywood ultra-starlet Grace Kelly were engaged, the news was an instant global sensation. Grace Kelly wore a dress gifted to her by movie studio MGM, and the piece was so extravagant that it now sits at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. As for the honeymoon, the two escaped for seven weeks to Mallorca and other Mediterranean island paradises, all on a yacht gifted to them by a member of the old money Onassis family, of Jackie Kennedy Onassis fame.

Legend has it the marriage was as much a business arrangement between super-wealthy families as it was an expression of love. But hey we'd prefer to think this was a true love fairytale come to life.

Princess Margaret & Antony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones: The Caribbean, 1958

Royal Honeymoon BritanniaThis is another controversial royal marriage. For starters, before he married royalty and became Lord Snowdon, Antony (AKA "Tony") was a mere commoner...and the first to marry a royal in more than 400 years! Causing even more controversy, Antony had already been engaged in an affair during his wedding with Princess Margaret. To make matters worse, his mistress gave birth to his child while he was on his royal Caribbean honeymoon aboard the royal yacht, the HMY Britannia. Talk about scandal!

The two were even warned against marrying before beginning to plan their wedding, and the stress proved to be too much...they called it quits after about 20 years together. That said, their Caribbean honeymoon had them sailing in the Caribbean for six weeks. So, aside from the births of their children, the honeymoon was probably the highlight of their doomed marriage.

Princess Anne & Captain Mark Phillips: The Caribbean & Galapagos, 1973

Princess Anne Royal HoneymoonThese two lovebirds also honeymooned aboard the Britannia, heading to the Caribbean and Galapagos islands. Despite the idyllic beauty of these two island destinations, the couple would divorce later on, leading to speculation about a "royal honeymoon curse." See, every royal wedding that ended with a honeymoon cruise on the Britannia ended up ending prematurely, with divorce. Meanwhile, royal couples who honeymooned without involving the Britannia are all still together. Whether it's a real curse or just coincidence, we may never know for sure.

Princess Diana & Prince Charles: The Mediterranean and Balmoral, 1981

Princess Diana Royal HoneymoonAll aboard! Diana and Charles were another royal pair who opted for an 11-day seafaring honeymoon aboard the Britannia. After skipping off to the royal estate at Balmoral, these two cruised the Mediterranean in the fully-staffed royal yacht for lots of swimming, dining, and more. Due to extramarital affairs, however, some reports claim that the honeymoon was more tumultuous than the sweet, carefree getaway all newlyweds are hoping for.

Prince Andrew & Sarah Ferguson: Portugal & The Azores, 1986

Azores Royal HoneymoonAfter exploring the Azores, a group of islands off the coast of Portugal, Andrew and Sarah boarded the Britannia to sail through the Atlantic before returning home again. Portugal's stunning scenery was likely the main draw for the couple, as well as plenty of opportunities for private time at some of the more secluded beaches, cliffs, and vistas.

Prince Edward & Sophie Rhys-Jones: Balmoral, 1999

Prince Edward Royal Honeymoon
Photo credit Bert Kaufmann on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/people/[email protected]

These two honeynmooned at Balmoral, the Queen's royal retreat in Scotland, then snuck off to a secret destination for a more private celebration. This royal bride and groom fell victim to some juicy controversy later, when Sophie was recorded talking about her fellow royals in less-than-flattering tones, in a scandal involving a fake sheikh and offers for backroom business dealings, resulting in a PR disaster that temporarily cast a shadow over the entire royal family as a result.

Prince Charles & Camilla Parker Bowles: Greece and Balmoral, 2005

Prince Charles Royal HoneymoonAfter the car accident that took Princess Diana's life, her husband Prince Charles married longtime mistress Camilla Parker-Bowles. Oh., what a tangled web these royals weave! They honeymooned at the Queen's estate in Balmoral, then explored the islands of Greece for a Mediterranean honeymoon with all the royal trimmings.

Peter Phillips & Autumn Kelly: South Africa, 2008

Prince Andrew Royal HoneymoonThese safari-loving royals headed to Tuningi Lodge in South Africa for their adventure honeymoon to see lions, tigers, and...well, probably not bears, but you get the picture! You could say these royal honeymooners took a glamping getaway before it was cool. Typical that a pair of royals would be such trendsetters. In another unusual move, the two didn't  honeymoon in total privacy like most royals do. Instead, they opted to publicize their honeymoon at the super-chic safari lodge, giving the property the world's most valuable imaginable source of free advertising in exchange for a free stay.

Prince William & Kate Middleton: Seychelles, 2011

Prince William Kate Middleton Royal Wedding
Credit: Magnus D on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/people/[email protected]

After saying "I do" and officially becoming husband and wife (and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge), royal couple Prince William and Kate Middleton escaped to the beautiful, remote islands of the Seychelles. They stayed at Desroches, a four-mile long island home to only a few exclusive luxury villas. Aside from their palatial island lodging, William and Kate had their own private butler at their beck and call throughout their stay.

Zara Phillips & Mike Tindall: Cyprus, 2011

Zara Phillips Tindall Honeymoon
Photo credit Land Rover MENA on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/7955215290

When Zara Phillips, a former Olympic swimmer and granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, married rugby star Mike Tindall, the two were too busy to take a honeymoon right away. But they more than made up for it with a trip to Cyprus, where they stayed at a five-star spa resort for some epic island honeymoon pampering right smack-dab in the middle of the Mediterranean sea.

Prince Harry & Meghan Markle: Alberta, Canada, 2018

Harry & Meghan Royal HoneymoonFinally, of course, there's the royal honeymoon of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Rumor has it they plan to honeymoon in Alberta, Canada, at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Situated on the shores of a sparkling lake in a stunning mountainous National Park, Jasper is a luxury lodge where a long list of previous royals and A-list celebrities have already stayed. As would be expected, the lodge is keeping tight-lipped about the possibility of a royal honeymoon there, as security is always a concern when you're part of the throne. So, no one really knows for sure where the couple honeymooned, some even speculating they snuck off to Africa for a private safari. We may never know this part of royal honeymoon history for sure!

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