Even the royal family needs some R&R from time to time. Safaris in the valleys of Africa, skiing in the Alps, catching waves off islands in the Caribbean—royals know how to take advantage of their vacation days. According to ABC News, members of the royal family worked an average of 85 days in 2019, which is about one-third of the 253 days that normal citizens of the U.K. work. (Fun fact: For the third year in a row, Princess Anne is the hardest working royal, working a total of 167 days out of the 365 calendar year.) As for this past year, the family worked 761 days in total. That's not even including all the off-the-record engagements they may have had to take for personal reasons. So when they really need to get away, the royals go all out. From lavish trips to Spain to the Bahamas, feast your eyes on just a few of the Windsor's most envy-inducing vacations, ahead.
Cape Town, South Africa
The Sussex's first trip as a family (although, sadly, Archie didn't make an appearance) was to Africa for a 10-day trip. Here, the new parents sit down to snack on Cape Malay koesisters, which is a local pastry in the area that's similar to a donut.
The sun-filled trip taken by Prince Charles and Camilla was the first time members of the British royal family made an official visit to the country of Cuba. Obviously, the only way to cruise in Cuba is in a convertible-like car.
Ngare Ndare Valley
In 1971, Prince Charles went on a four-day safari through the Ngare Ndare Valley in Kenya. If only smartphones were around then...because I bet the photos would've been amazing.
Blatchford Lake, Canada
It was the first vacation for Prince William and Kate as newlyweds, and the photos did not disappoint. The couple went on a canoe ride together, learned about leather making, and had this cute moment.
Nevis is said to be Princess Diana's favorite island. Here, in 1993, she and nine-year-old Harry caught some massive waves. It's said they stayed at the 19-room Montpelier Plantation & Beach.
After graduating from Eton and before joining the army, Prince Harry worked on a remote cattle station in Queensland. We have to say, the outback attire really suits him.
Treetops Hotel in Kenya
The iconic lodging site is known to hardcore royal fans as the place where Princess Elizabeth became Queen. She and Prince Philip were visiting when news broke that her father, George VI, had died.
In this photo, taken in 1967, Princess Margaret and husband Antony Armstrong-Jones are enjoying the teal blue waters of the Bahamas, a favorite destination of the princess.
Then-Princess Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, celebrated their honeymoon in Malta. However, it was a double-duty trip. Prince Philip was stationed there while in active duty in the Navy, and the couple lived in Villa Guardamangia in Valletta for two years.
The Caribbean was a favorite vacation spot for Princess Diana and the boys, spotted here in 1990 on entrepreneur Richard Branson's private island. The exclusive invite has also been extended to President Barack Obama and Kate Winslet.
It's no secret that the royals love this Alpine resort village that's huge with celebrities, and they've gone there multiple times. Here, a young Prince William and Prince Harry join their father for a ski trip.
Check out Prince Harry and Prince William's eyewear! Here, they're on a ski trip with their mother to Austria, which was Diana's preferred ski spot, rather than Charles' favorite, Klosters in Switzerland. Sadly, a friend of the royal family died in an avalanche that nearly caught Prince Charles in its way, and Diana refused to return to Klosters.
Balmoral Castle is likely the most iconic of the royal vacation destination spots, and for good reason. It's a longtime favorite for the Windsors, with the Queen and the rest of the family spending their August and September holidays there.
The French Alps
In 2016, Prince William and Kate Middleton went on their first vacation as a family of four with a then-three-year-old Prince George and a nearly one-year-old Princess Charlotte. A little pre-Easter vacation never hurt anyone!
In 1995, the future Duke of Sussex and Duke of Cambridge were joined by their cousins Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice in the Alps. The royals love their ski trips, so it's no surprise to see the entire gang together in Switzerland.
Looking fabulous while visiting the Acropolis is the defintion of #vacationgoals. Princess Margaret and her husband made it look easy. They visited the country on holiday in September 1963.
Who doesn't love a royal crossover? For the summers of 1987 (pictured here), 1988, and 1990, the royal family spent their vacation time with King Juan Carlos of Spain, Queen Sofia, and their family, including son Prince Felipe, who is now the reigning monarch.
British Virgin Islands
In October 1977, the Queen made a royal trip to the British Virgin Islands, where she had a chance to tour a market. Of course she went straight for the mangos, which are notoriously a favorite food of Her Majesty—she even travels with Bilawal House mangos.
Mustique, West Indies
Mustique was Princess Margaret's favorite vacation destination, and the Queen came to visit her there in 1977 after her Silver Jubilee Tour of the West Indies. It's now a favorite vacation spot for William and Kate.
Prince William and Prince Harry regularly made trips to Switzerland for ski trips during their childhood, so it's no surprise that in 2008 William brought then-girlfriend Kate to join him on a winter retreat. Ah, young love.
Shortly after a champagne brunch, Princess Margaret and her new husband boarded the Royal Yacht Brittania to depart for their six-week honeymoon through the Caribbean, stopping in Trinidad, Antigua, and the Princess' favorite, Mustique. They were the first couple to take the royal yacht, but the yacht may be cursed: Every couple that's used it for their honeymoon has wound up getting divorced.
Always known for her fashion choices, Diana coordinated her outfits during her royal tour of Egypt in 1992 to match the landmarks she'd be visiting. She'd accepted an invite to visit from First Lady Suzanne Mubarak, and apparently called the landmarks she'd seen "breathtaking." She had a lasting impact on the country: After her passing, Egyptian television cleared its schedules and carried live coverage of her funeral.
Even the royals sometimes need to stop and take in the scenery. In this photo from 1998, Prince Charles stopped to paint a watercolor in the middle of his hike of the Himalayas.
The Azores, Portugal
For their honeymoon in 1986, Prince Andrew and his then-wife, Sarah Ferguson, took the royal jet and the royal yacht Brittania to the Azores, a region in Portugal. The jet had "Just Married" emblazoned on the rear door.
Prince Charles manages to make drinking from a coconut look regal. He visited India in December 1980 for a six-day trip, and he returned again with wife Camilla Parker-Bowles for a two-day trip in 2017. Hopefully he drank from a coconut then, too.
Alert: The Queen is wearing khakis. Seeing the Queen not wearing her trademark neon is a little jarring, but this royal trip from 1979 proves that she can do it all and wear it all.
Royals! In! Ponchos! During a 1991 visit, a seven-year-old Harry and nine-year-old William joined Diana for a 25-minute boat ride on the Maid of the Mist in Niagara Falls.
Princess Diana was never shy about her love for Africa, and she's passed on that love to her sons. They've taken several trips to the continent, but Harry has a specific place in his heart for Botswana. In 2008, he took girlfriend Chelsy Davy on a trip there, and he and now-wife Meghan Markle have taken two trips there: one in 2016, and one in 2017 to celebrate Meghan's birthday.
It's a whole gang of royalty! This star-studded clan all took a vacation together, along with their children in 1990. Who's there? Along with Charles and Diana, Princess Elena of Spain, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, former King Constantine of Greece, Princess Theodora of Greece, Queen Sophia of Spain, and King Juan Carlos of Spain were all invited on the trip to these Spanish islands.
During a celebration for Prince Andrew's 50th birthday and Prince Anne's 60th birthday, members of the royal family gathered on the Hebridean Princess boat in Scotland for a two-week cruise hosted by the Queen. In addition to the birthday celebrants, Prince Edward, his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, their children Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn, were included.
In the first royal visit to the commonwealth since 1982, Kate and William were welcomed by the people in the Polynesian country with aplomb. They had a ton of fun, even dancing with the ladies at a traditional Vaiku Falekaupule ceremony.
The Royal Yacht
In this photo from 1989, the Queen, Prince Andrew, and Sarah Ferguson, wave before they leave for their summer cruise. Princess Beatrice wanted nothing to do with the picture, though.
On Prince George's first royal tour in 2014, the young royal went to Taronga Zoo Sydney with his parents. Not only did he get to meet wildlife native to the country, but afterward the one-year-old was given a souvenir stuffed animal.
Newlyweds Princess Diana and Prince Charles hold hands on the deck of the Royal Yacht Britannia on their honeymoon in 1981. The couple was leaving the port in Gibraltar to sail around the Mediterranean.
Princess Diana took her sons on a mini vacation in Surrey, England in 1993. The royal children enjoyed an afternoon at Thorpe Amusement Park and seemed to especially enjoy the log flume ride.
Princess Margaret arrives at Porto Cervo in Sardinia, Italy before heading out on a yacht for a day in the sun in 1967.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited a farm near the royal residence at Balmoral. The couple was enjoying a holiday together at their Scottish estate to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary in 1972.
While on a royal tour of India and Bhutan in 2016, Prince William and Kate Middleton enjoyed an open jeep safari in India's Kaziranga National Park.
Princess Margaret's residence on the island of Mustique served as her vacation retreat throughout her life. Here, she poses with her son, David, in 1989 while on the Grenadines island.
On their first royal tour as newlyweds, Prince William and Kate Middleton enjoyed a rodeo demonstration in Calgary, Canada. By the looks of it, they dressed the part.
Proving that royals can't stay away from the slopes, Princess Anne took her daughter, Zara Phillips, on a skiing holiday in the French alps in 1989. They stayed in Morzine, France for their New Year holiday.
Prince Charles and Camilla went on a safari in South Africa's Phinda Game Reserve where they spotted...wait for it...rhinos. The couple was visiting South Africa before heading to Tanzania.
Queen Elizabeth released a photo of herself enjoying a relaxing horseback ride in Windsor Park during the lockdown restrictions in 2020. At 94, the Queen still enjoys riding her horse, Balmoral Fern.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shared a glass of wine during a visit to one of New Zealand's many vineyards during their royal tour in 2014.
Quite the shutterbug, Queen Elizabeth made sure to capture a personal snapshot during her visit to Tuvalu in 1982. The stop on the South Pacific tour was later carried out by her grandson, Prince William, and his wife in 2012.
While visiting Pakistan on an official royal tour, Kate Middleton and Prince William visited the Badshahi Mosque within the Walled City of Lahore. The couple adhered to the mosque's dress code and removed their shoes before entering.
Prince Philip, Prince Charles, and Princess Anne are surrounded by photographers as they take a stroll through the small ski town of Vaduz, Liechtenstein. The royal family was visiting over the New Year in 1965.
Prince Charles and Camilla pose at the Powerscourt House and Gardens in 2019 during a visit to the Republic of Ireland.
On their last royal visit before the Duchess gave birth to Archie Harrison, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visited Morocco. Here, the couple explores the Moroccan Royal Federation of Equestrian Sports in Rabat, Morocco.
Princess Anne's daughter, Zara Phillips, enjoys a riding lesson on the family's estate in Sandringham after the New Year holiday in 1987. The royal family travels to Sandringham every December and celebrates the Christmas holiday at St. Mary Magdalene Church.
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Amanda Mitchell is a writer and podcaster with bylines at Marie Claire, OprahMag, Allure, Byrdie, Stylecaster, Bon Appetit, and more. Her work exists at the apex of beauty, pop culture, and absurdity. A human Funfetti cake, she watches too much television, and her favorite season is awards season. You can read more of her work at amandaelizabethmitchell.com or follow her on Instagram and Twitter @lochnessmanda.
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