August is traditionally the month for family holidays and the royal family is no different. But nowadays we never get to see those wonderful photographs of them lounging on yachts – the King as Prince of Wales used to take John Latsis’ boat every summer for a cruise with the young princes and his close friends. Before that they spent time on Mallorca with King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía at Marivent Palace in Palma. As a single woman Diana favoured the Caribbean, while Fergie preferred the South of France.
Queen Camilla loves the sun and swimming in the sea, and used to go sketching in Italy or France, but now she has teenage grandchildren she wants to spend the little time she has available with them before they are too old for family holidays. The King enjoys a week on his own at the Castle of Mey, working and only taking time off to enjoy some fishing.
The Princess Royal, like the late Queen, has always preferred being in Scotland, where she and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence sail their yacht on the west coast. As she celebrates her 73rd birthday this month, Anne has been voted the most popular member of the royal family after the Prince and Princess of Wales and their children: it’s a far cry from when, in her youth, she was considered the rudest.
Aside from the £1.6 million cost to the Royal Household for the Queen’s funeral the annual financial report divulged some interesting travel facts. Two of the trips the King had to make from Aberdeen to RAF Northolt last September were by charter flight, one in support of Operation London Bridge – the code name for the plan following the death of Queen Elizabeth II – the other described as ‘residence to residence’. According to the report they cost more than £23,000 each, so it is understandable that the King flies only when he absolutely has to. Buckingham Palace had previously said that Charles ‘was pretty allergic’ to travelling by helicopter for environmental reasons and would usually find a reason not to do so.
The Royal Train, beloved by the late Queen, is also expensive but has been given a reprieve after it was considered for decommission following her death. The fact it provides secure overnight accommodation apparently negates the significant cost of running it.
Responding to questions about when – if ever – the King and Queen will move into Buckingham Palace it was announced that they would make it their London residence when the ten-year refit is complete. The next phase will take roughly four years and according to Buckingham Palace ‘it is currently the intention that Their Majesties will occupy the private apartments of Her [late] Majesty at the end of the reservicing programme’.
The Prince of Wales has launched Homewards, an ambitious campaign to end homelessness for good within five years, and in late June he undertook a two-day tour of the six chosen locations around the United Kingdom to highlight the programme.
The prince was first taken by his mother to The Passage – a hostel for the homeless run by nuns – at the age of eleven: he has been a visitor ever since. William has indicated that when the time is right he will introduce his own children to the issues he confronted with his mother that have shaped his objectives ever since.