Queen Elizabeth: Informality ‘had limits’ on royal trips as Prince Philip ‘thrown’ in sea

Queen ‘adored’ the Royal Yacht Britannia says expert

Queen Elizabeth has travelled to all four corners of the globe during her long life. For many folk, holidays are a time to relax and let your guard down. According to one author, royal trips could also be pretty informal.

This was often the case during time spent on the Royal Yacht Britannia.

The Queen had use of the yacht from 1954 until it was decommissioned in 1997 due to the expense of running and maintaining it.

She very much loved the ship and once described it as the “one place where I can truly relax”.

Author Robert Hardman explained in his book Queen of the World that there an easy-going mood on the ship, however, one could never take it too far.

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“On board, informality would go a long way – but it had its limits,” said Hardman.

Sometimes those who met the Queen had to work out how far to take informal behaviour.

This was the case for an erstwhile Australian leader during a royal visit Down Under.

“John Gorton, former Prime Minister of Australia, later recalled one beach barbecue with the family during a 1970 tour of Australia, when the royal party decided it was time for a swim,” wrote Hardman.

“‘Princess Anne was thrown in and then Prince Philip,’ Gorton said.

“‘I was sitting next to Her Majesty and I was just about to throw her in but I looked at her and something about the way she told me that perhaps I shouldn’t.

“‘In the end, the Queen was the only one who stayed dry.’”

The Queen definitely has a fun side to her though.

In 1965 the Duke of Edinburgh travelled in the Royal Yacht Britannia on a voyage around the Commonwealth.

The journey took him to Australia, New Guinea and Antarctica, to name a few.

The Prince was away from his wife for a whopping five months.

He made the most of this opportunity to grow a beard.

When Philip eventually returned, the Queen decided to play a prank following his hair growth.

The monarch is said to have decided to poke fun at her hirsute spouse by donning fake facial hair.

“It was a comedy moment when the Queen and Duke were finally reunited,” Hardman wrote in his book.

“Knowing that he had grown a beard on his travels, the Queen had arranged for everyone in the royal entourage – herself included – to put on fake whiskers just before the Duke walked in.”

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