Royal Passports

Some of the more unique aspects of royal life are what we find so fascinating here at the Royal Post, and one area we haven’t discussed yet is passports. Since they interest us, we thought you’d like to learn more as well so let’s dive in!

Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip (source)
Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip (source)

The British Royals

One of the perks of being The Queen of England is that she  is the only citizen of the United Kingdom who does not need a passport when travelling overseas.

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The official website of the British Monarchy explains that the inside of each British passport has this statement:

‘Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.’

So, since British passports are issued in the name of The Queen, it is unnecessary for her to have one herself. She is the only exception; the rest of her family, including The Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales, have passports and must carry them when travelling abroad.

Such a great read!
Such a great read!

The fascinating book In Private In Public the Prince and Princess of Wales by Alastair Burnet includes a look at the passports that Diana and Charles carried in the mid ’80’s (such a fun read – you can pick up a copy here.

(source)
(source)

These passports don’t appear to have a special mark showing any special diplomatic status, but if we’re mistaken please let us know in the comments!

(source)
(source)

Here’s an inside look at Diana’s passport as well; it was part of the exhibit on her life at Althorp. No  severe and boring drug store passport photo for the Princess of Wales!

Princess Diana's British passport on exhibit---as we visited the Princess Diana exhibit at the Mall of America fourth floor exhibit space with a group of English-born women that call themselves the English Mums Friday morning February 3, 2012. The exhibit was lent by Princess Diana's family and it features what is considered to be the largest collection of her personal heirlooms extant. The exhibit opens Saturday. (Pioneer Press: John Doman)
A passport photo fit for a princes (source)

Diana’s childhood passport was also included in the exhibit and I remember seeing it there on my visit to Althorp in the summer of 2001. Unfortunately the photo is teeny tiny, but I can just make out that her birthplace is listed as Sandringham, England on on 1-7-61. At this point, she would have been The Honourable Diana Frances Spencer and apparently Diana’s dad took all the photos of the Spencer siblings that were used in their passports.

(source)
So cute! (source)

We also know that William and Kate applied for a passport for Prince George in advance of their trip to Australia in 2013.  Understandably, no pictures have been published of William, Kate, or George’s passports but I do have an anecdote!

Oh, George!
Oh, George!

An acquaintance of mine worked at the Welcome Centre at the Athlete’s Village during the 2012 London Olympics. At all Olympic Athlete’s Villages, the Welcome Centre essentially functions as Customs for the village. Anyone who is not an Olympic athlete must enter through the centre and be on a pre-screened and approved list and, without exception, each visitor must bring their passport with them to be left at the Centre for the duration of their visit. Most people are great about following the rules, but William and Kate sidestepped this and just brought photocopies. The gall! The folks running the centre weren’t pleased but…they let them in.

William & Kate tour the Athlete's Village (source)
William & Kate tour the Athlete’s Village (source)

 

(source)
Kate visiting the Athlete’s Village on Day four of the London 2012 Summer Olympics (source)

The House of Grimaldi

When Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier, she became a citizen of Monaco and decided to retain her US citizenship. This photo of her American passport surfaced on the internet – interesting that she calls herself ‘Grace Kelly Grimaldi’, right?

 

(source)
(source)

 

Prince Albert reportedly claimed dual citizenship as well, but gave it up when he turned 21. He is, however, enormously proud to have visited each and every State; he seems to bring that up in every interview with an American reporter.

The Royal Family of Denmark

There is limited information about the passport situation for Denmark’s royal family, however it is widely reported that all members of the Royal Family have diplomatic passports. We also know that when Queen Margarethe’s sons married foreigners Alexandra Manley, Mary Donaldson, and Marie Cavallier they were all given Danish citizenship. Understandably, it caused a bit of a fuss when they got to sidestep the normal channels to receive their passports.

(source)
Princes Alexandra and Prince Joachim with their sons

When  Princess Alexandra and Prince Joachim divorced, she reportedly was allowed to retain her diplomatic passport. The thinking there was that her and Prince Joachim’s sons Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix would both have diplomatic passports so it would be impractical if their mother didn’t have one as well when travelling.

The extended Danish Royal Family gathered together on Christmas Eve, (source)
The extended Danish Royal Family gathered together on Christmas Eve, 2006 (source)

Also, King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece can carry Danish diplomatic passports since they are descended from a Danish King and Queen. Members of their family, like Prince Pavolos and Princess Marie Chantal can also carry Danish passports since they are a Prince and Princess of Denmark. More details about that can be read here if you’re in the mood.

We’ll stick with those three royal families for now, but we’ll keep digging for more information and do feel free to share anything you know in the comments!

September 9th, 2015: The Queen’s Reign is Now Longer than Queen Victoria’s

As of Wednesday September 9, 2015 at 5:30 London time, Queen Elizabeth officially becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history, passing her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria who reigned for 23,226 days, 16 hours and 23 minutes.

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The Queen has chosen not to greet this milestone with any great fanfare. Can’t really blame her- the rain soaked 2012 River boat cruise marking  the Diamond Jubilee ended with Prince Philip in the hospital for days (when asked if she’d enjoyed the celebrations she said something like “Enjoy isn’t the right word.”). My take is that there’s already so much hoopla around her, she doesn’t feel the need for more.

Doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun. In honour of the occasion, we’ve rounded up some happily spontaneous quotes and moments from Queen Elizabeth II’s life  and are giving a nod to Queen Victoria as well. Because while we often remember Queen Victoria all somber and serious like this…

(Via Biography)
(Via Biography)

…we have photographic proof that she wasn’t only about black dresses and admonishing looks. She smiled sometimes!  This carriage ride photo was taken in February 1892.

She smiled sometimes! (via Biography)
(via Biography)

We already know that Queen Elizabeth II can be a hoot herself. Photobomb!

(via Daily Mail)
Australian soccer players and the Queen at the Commonwealth Games (via Daily Mail)

She also enjoyed it when something planned goes a little off in her highly scheduled and formal public life, and that’s something that Prince William’s talked about on occasion.

Take, for example, when she was in Canada in April 1982 for the signing of the Constitution Act and then Justice Minister (and later Prime Minister) Jean Chretien had a broken pen. In his words:

“I picked up the pen and I start to try to sign and it was not working and I said to myself ‘merde’ and she had a big, big laugh,” he said. “Everybody was asking me what the hell you told her that she had such a spontaneous laugh and I refused to say so for years.” (source)

Ottawa. April 17, 1982. The Queen is all smiles as Attorney-General Jean Chretien reaches for a pen to sign the Constitution proclamation. Photo by Erik Christensen / The Globe and Mail Orig. Pub. April 19, 1982 (source)
Ottawa. April 17, 1982. The Queen is all smiles as Attorney-General Jean Chretien reaches for a pen to sign the Constitution proclamation. Photo by Erik Christensen / The Globe and Mail
Orig. Pub. April 19, 1982 (source)

More recently, she was totally into partaking in the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. Sebastian Coe was an instrumental part in helping to make the idea happen, and as he reported in his biography, she had kept it a secret from her family.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AS-dCdYZbo

He said that when the film cut to the back of the Queen, the Prince of Wales had “exactly the same reaction” as the rest of the world, which was to assume it was “the lady who does the impersonations”. 

He added: “But the moment she turned around, and everyone realised, ‘my God! It really is the Queen!’ he began roaring with laughter. As for his sons, they were beside themselves. (source)

Every year she also seems to have a fantastic time watching the Braemar Games underway during her visit to Balmoral, and it always results in photos like this.

(source)
(source)

She was there again this year and it was no different as you can see in the photo below (our post from 2012 on the Games has even more pictures of hooting and hollering at the Games, if you’d like to see).

Braemar Games 2015 (source)
Braemar Games 2015 (source)

And here are a select few quips and quotes:

Also, this:

Here’s to Queen Elizabeth wearing the crown for many years to come.

The Queen adjusts the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara during a photo shoot (via Daily Mail)
Adjusting her headgear during a 2004 photo shoot (via Daily Mail)