Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Queens on Trains

The Queen takes the train from Slough to London Paddington and follows in her great, great granny's rail tracks
(photo Royal Family Instagram)

'There was no dust or great heat, in fact it was delightful and so quick'. So wrote Victoria following the first ever train trip by a queen back in 1842. On June 13th 2017, her great, great granddaughter, Elizabeth II, recreated the very same journey to mark the 175th anniversary and gave us that gem of a regal image - a royal on a train. There's something really quite lovely about it all so to celebrate the anniversary, the happy photos and the sheer silliness of getting excited about royals taking trips by public transport, here are some recent times we've seen queens on a train.

The last time we saw the Queen on a train was back in February when she made her now, traditional, journey back from Sandringham to London via train. And it was all very regal. After a stately stroll down the platform at King's Lynn, Elizabeth II hopped aboard the service to King's Cross. It signalled the end of the royal Christmas break and put a big smile on everyone's faces - we'd missed the equally traditional sight of HM getting the train from London to Norfolk to start her festive holiday as she was poorly. This wasn't just a royal train trip, it was confirmation the Queen was back to full health. 

Running Elizabeth II a very close second in queen most likely to take a train is Maxima of the Netherlands. On her last trip, she even matched her coat and hat to the livery of the train which brought her, her husband and their three daughters to Tilburg for the 2017 King's Day celebrations.

Just months earlier, Maxima had been one half of a regal train passenger double act when she joined friend and neighbour, Mathilde of the Belgians, to visit Utrecht Central Station. You've got to love any photo that shows two consorts stepping off a train in perfect harmony. It's genius.

Mathilde had a bit of a train spotting autumn. In October 2016, she and King Philippe seemed to spend much of their State Visit to Japan on board trains as the travelled around the country during the trip. After accompanying the Emperor and Empress of Japan on one journey, Mathilde and her husband, King Philippe, continued to see the country by train and filled a whole album of royals on public transport all by themselves.

It was Queen Letizia of Spain's turn to ride the bullet train when she and husband, King Felipe, arrived in Japan for their State Visit in April this year. Letizia took just the one train ride during her trip but judging by the smile, it was a royal hit.


Which brings us back neatly to the latest installment of royals on trains. The Queen took the GWR from Slough to Paddington to recreate that very first royal train journey and very smiley it was too. Elizabeth II was seen off from Slough by happy school children and greeted in London by jolly railway types before smiling broadly as she unveiled a new train named in her honour. The Queen's name on a train seems the perfect way to end this look at royal railway journeys. 

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