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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!