The Travels of Queen Elizabeth II - Mapped

Every state and commonwealth visit the Queen has made since 1953


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United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland British Passport

Queen Elizabeth has travelled. A lot. She has visited the most powerful nations on Earth, and the tiniest islands of Oceania. Lands previously ruled by the British monarchy, and those that were once our enemies. Her travels have taken her to 110 countries across six continents.

Her Majesty is the most travelled monarch in the world. Despite her advancing age, the Queen still makes state visits to important British allies – with trips to Ireland, France and Germany taking place in recent years. Since the age of 50, she has travelled to 43 different countries for the first time.

Given the exhaustive nature of these trips – some can last months – the Queen’s continued dedication to representing the UK on a global scale is remarkable.

To celebrate this, we’ve mapped out all the official state and commonwealth visits our monarch has made, beginning with her trip to Kenya – where she arrived as a Princess, and left as a Queen.

The Travels of Queen Elizabeth II Map

Five Random Facts About the Queen on Her Travels

  • Queen Elizabeth has never visited her husband’s place of birth – Greece. Many believe it is because Prince Philip’s father was put on trial there in 1922, and was almost executed.
  • The Queen does not require a passport. Passports are provided to you and me in the name of Her Majesty, and so to issue one for herself would be pointless.
  • Unofficially, multiple heirs to the throne should not travel on a plane together. In recent times, however, Prince William has ignored this rule to travel with his son George.
  • On four occasions Queen Elizabeth has been on an official trip during her birthday – once in Ceylon (1954), twice in Australia (1970 and 1988) and once in South Korea (1999).
  • The Queen takes a black outfit with her whenever she travels. If a member of the Royal Family should die during her trip, she then has the appropriate clothing on hand.
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How the Queen Gets About

Today, it is difficult to imagine the Queen travelling the world in anything other than a commercial plane. However, the beginning of her reign pre-dates the widespread use of air travel – and so she and Prince Phillip would often tour the far reaches of the globe on their royal yacht.

The HMY Britannia was commissioned in 1952, the day before Her Majesty ascended to the throne. For 43 years, it was used for various tours of different parts of the world – including Oceania and the Caribbean. It was decommissioned in 1997, and now sits as a tourist attraction in Edinburgh.

When plans are arranged for the Queen to visit other countries – there are still plenty of options, including the Royal Air Force. Very often, however, she will fly with British Airways.

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How the Queen Travels
Queen Elizabeth Visits Canada More Than Any Other Country

Oh Canada

The Queen has visited Canada more than any other country – a grand total of 27 times.

As Canada is a member of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth remains its Head of State, although her role is purely ceremonial. Canada is the only nation, apart from the UK, for whom the Queen has made a state visit on behalf of. Twice she has been hosted in the US as the Queen of Canada, rather than the Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Despite the commendable number of times she has visited Canada, it should be noted that a couple of those were merely a matter of convenience. During long-haul trips to Oceania and the Caribbean islands, Queen Elizabeth’s plane regularly stops in Canada for refuelling.

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Queen Elizabeth visiting Canada
Two children handing Queen Elizabeth a basket of flowers - July 1959
Queen Elizabeth II Holding Flowers, with Prince Philip - Ottawa
Queen Elizabeth II Holding Flowers, with Prince Philip - Ottawa
Queen Elizabeth Observing Basket Weaving by First Nations Women
Queen Elizabeth Observing Basket Weaving by First Nations Women
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip Standing in a Car
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip Standing in a Car - July 1959
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Greeting RCMP Officers
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Greeting RCMP Officers - October 1957
Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip - Ontario 1951
Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip - Ontario 1951
Canada Images Courtesy of Library and Archives Canada
Queen Elizabeth Fashion Sense

The Royal Fashion Sense

Her Majesty’s fashion choices are often a hot topic of conversation.

As arguably the most famous monarch in the world – people expect a certain level of glamour, and the Queen is renowned for dazzling her hosts wherever she goes. It doesn’t matter if she’s visiting with world leaders, or ordinary people.

With access to a variety of beautiful gowns, and the most valuable jewellery on Earth, onlookers are often left suitably impressed. Of course, it helps to have a team of fashion-related experts on hand at all times – making all the key decisions.

But Queen Elizabeth pulls off each look with such elegance, we’re inclined to give her a lot of the credit.

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Queens Gifts from Around the World

Gifts From Around the World

It is common courtesy for Queen Elizabeth’s hosts to present her with a gift during an official visit, and vice-versa.

With hundreds of trips taking place throughout her reign, the Queen has acquired a wide variety of different items from all over the world. Some more unusual than others, but all gratefully received by Her Majesty.

It is not uncommon for the Queen to be given animals as a gift. For example, during her state visit to Brazil in 1968, she was given two sloths. Protocol is for the animals to be placed into a local zoo, where they can be looked after properly. However, when Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands gifted a horse, it was housed in the Royal Mews.

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The Queen's Middle East Tour in 1979

The Queen’s 1979 Tour of the Middle East

In early 1979, Queen Elizabeth embarked upon a tour of the Middle East – visiting Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman. However, none of these are considered to be ‘state visits’ by the Palace.

The trip attracted worldwide attention, not least because the region was going through a difficult time – with the Iranian Revolution only a month old. Many were also interested to see how a female head of state would be welcomed in this part of the world.

But there was no reason to worry. Particularly in Dubai, where the Queen was already familiar with some of the male leaders through their mutual interest in horse racing. Her Majesty and Prince Phillip were even able to experience camel racing for the first time.

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Great Britain and the USA – A Special Relationship

Great Britain and the USA
A Special Relationship

Since ascending to the throne in 1952, Queen Elizabeth has seen 14 different men hold the office of President of the United States of America. At some point during each of their presidencies, she has met with all of them, with one recent exception...

The Queen has visited the US on numerous official state visits – as both Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and as Queen of Canada – where she retains her head of state status. On each trip, she was hosted by a Republican President – Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.

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Members of the Royal Family Travel as Well

The Other Royals

The Queen is not the only member of the Royal Family to rack up the air miles. Prince Phillip, Prince Charles and Princes William and Harry have all made official visits to Britain’s allies.

Prince Phillip often accompanied the Queen during state visits, and often toured by himself. Prince Charles has visited over a hundred countries, perhaps travelling more than the Queen herself, whilst Prince William has been on more than 40 trips.

One things for certain – whilst the Queen’s calendar isn’t as packed as it used to be, she and the other members of the Royal Family continue to represent the UK around the world.

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