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A look back at Queen Elizabeth II's best royal tour moments

 Queen Elizabeth II meets the public on a walkabout in Canberra, Australia, on October 10, 1982.
Queen Elizabeth II meets the public on a walkabout in Canberra, Australia, on October 10, 1982.

The late Queen Elizabeth II arguably broke the mould when it came to royal tours abroad. Though such visits are commonplace among the royal family nowadays, the late monarch was the first Queen to ever travel the world so extensively in an official capacity, thanks to the serious advancements in travel during her reign.

This means that Elizabeth travelled to more countries abroad in an official capacity than any other royal Queen (or King) before her – in fact, it’s reported that the Queen undertook more than 200 royal visits abroad during her 70-year reign, visiting almost all of the countries in the Commonwealth at least once, and many of them numerous times.

To celebrate her many royal visits, we take a look at Queen Elizabeth's best tour moments ever; from moments of levity and fun amid serious duties, to historically and politically significant visits. These are 32 of the Queen’s best royal tour moments from across the decades.

32 of Queen Elizabeth II’s best royal tour moments

Her first Commonwealth tour with Philip

Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on the bridge of the liner Gothic as it arrves at the Miraflores Locks in the Panama Canal during the Royal Tour of the Commonwealth. 30th November 1953.
Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on the bridge of the liner Gothic as it arrves at the Miraflores Locks in the Panama Canal during the Royal Tour of the Commonwealth. 30th November 1953.

One of the Queen's best royal tour moments was undoubtedly her biggest tour ever, which took place just a year after becoming monarch.

After her coronation in 1952, the Queen and Prince Philip embarked on a mammoth tour of all of the Commonwealth nations at that time, which took place across six months between November 1953 to May 1954. In that time, the monarch and her husband visited countless different places within the West Indies, Australasia, Asia and Africa, and covered an enormous 44,000 miles travelling.


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Her tour to Kenya as a Princess - when she became Queen

Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, waving from the balcony of City Hall to the crowds below, during their Commonwealth tour, Nairobi, Kenya, 4th February 1952. The tour would be cut short after the death of King George VI during the night of 5th-6th February and Elizabeth's accession to the throne.

The biggest moment of any of the Queen’s international tours occurred when she and Prince Philip were in the midst of a royal tour of Africa, Australia and New Zealand. The couple made the trip in place of Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, who was considered to be too unwell to travel.

The royal couple were enjoying a brief respite from their duties when they stopped for a few days holiday at a quiet lodge (now known as the Treetops Hotel), around 100 miles from Nairobi.

However, it was here that the then-Princess Elizabeth learnt of father’s passing on 2nd February, meaning that she would be taking the throne at the age of just 25. Due to how remote the location was, the news of King George's passing took some time to reach Elizabeth and Philip, and it's reported that the young Princess was one of the last people within the hotel to find out about his death.

Her first royal tour to the US as monarch

20th October 1957: Left to right: Queen Elizabeth II, US president Dwight D Eisenhower (1890 - 1969) with his wife Mamie (1896 - 1979) and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at a White House State banquet.
20th October 1957: Left to right: Queen Elizabeth II, US president Dwight D Eisenhower (1890 - 1969) with his wife Mamie (1896 - 1979) and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at a White House State banquet.

In 1957, Elizabeth made her very first trip abroad to the United States as the monarch of the United Kingdom. Though she had been to America before, this was her very first trip as Queen.

During her four-day October visit, she and Prince Philip met the President at the time, Dwight D Eisenhower, at the White House, before making various visits to organisations within Washington DC. She and the Duke of Edinburgh also paid a visit to Williamsburg, Virginia, and New York City, where there was a large parade for the royals on the streets.

This wasn’t the President and Elizabeth’s first meeting, however. President Eisenhower had actually met Elizabeth as a young girl – back when she was Princess Elizabeth – during a meeting with her father King George.

The Queen’s trip to Russia in 1994

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 18: The Queen And President Boris Yeltsin Raising Their Glasses Of Champagne To Make A Toast To One Another At The State Banquet In Granovitaya Palace In Moscow, Russia.
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 18: The Queen And President Boris Yeltsin Raising Their Glasses Of Champagne To Make A Toast To One Another At The State Banquet In Granovitaya Palace In Moscow, Russia.

In 1994, Queen Elizabeth II made a historic visit to Russia, marking the very first time that a UK monarch had ever visited the country. Making the trip following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Queen was hosted by Russia’s President at the time, Boris Yeltsin, who governed the country from 1991 to 1999.

During a State dinner, both Elizabeth and the President acknowledged Russia’s troubled past, with Yeltsin explaining in his speech, "For Russia, this visit is the utmost recognition that our country is on the road to democracy."

The Queen concurred, making this statement in her own speech: "You and I have spent most of our lives believing that this evening could never happen. I hope that you are as delighted as I am to be proved wrong."

Queen Elizabeth remains the only UK monarch to have visited Russia during their reign. Charles did visit the country as the Prince of Wales, taking a trip to St. Petersburg in 1994, but has not returned since becoming King.

Her final return to Malta with Philip

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh after looking at the view from the Kalkara heritage site in Valletta Harbour on November 28, 2015 in Valletta, Malta. Queen Elizabeth II, The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall are in Malta on the final day of a visit to the island that has been hosting the Commonwealth Heads of State Summit.

In 2015, Elizabeth embarked on her final royal tour abroad, returning to Malta with Prince Philip – an island they had both spent lots of time in during their marriage. While this photo looks fairly unremarkable, it's one of our favourite pictures of the late monarchs because of its back story.

At the age of 89, the Queen and 91-year-old Philip spent three days on the island during their final visit, attending the 24th CHOGM meeting – where the Queen delivered a speech praising Malta – and meeting people they had known during their time living there.

The Queen and Prince Philip spent a couple of happy years living in Malta as young newlyweds; Philip was stationed there between 1949 and 1951 as a naval officer, and it’s said to be the place where Elizabeth spent some of the most ‘normal’ years of her life, living simply as husband and wife without the pressure of their royal duties back home in the UK. So it seems very fitting that their final trip abroad together was to the place where they spent so many happy years.

Her meeting with Ronald Reagan in 1983

President Reagan laughs following a joke by Queen Elizabeth II, who commented on the lousy California weather she has experienced since her arrival to the States. The British Queen is delivering a brief address during a state dinner held at the De Young Museum in San Francisco.
President Reagan laughs following a joke by Queen Elizabeth II, who commented on the lousy California weather she has experienced since her arrival to the States. The British Queen is delivering a brief address during a state dinner held at the De Young Museum in San Francisco.

The Queen had a very close friendship with former President of the United States Ronald Reagan, and further bolstered their relationship during a visit to his and his wife Nancy Reagan’s California ranch in 1983, after first hosting them at Windsor Castle in 1982.

It was a visit that mixed both personal and professional, as the Queen and Prince Philip stayed in their ranch in the mountains of Santa Barbara, enjoying a few horseback riding ventures around the estate during their few days there.

During her trip to California, the Queen also toured a Los Angeles film studio, attended an official dinner in San Francisco hosted by Ronald and Nancy Reagan (where she delivered a speech), toured the Bay area in the Royal Yacht Britannia toured Yosemite, and visited Stanford University.

Her historic visit to India in 1961

26th January 1961: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Duke OF Edinburgh with officials from local girl guide and scout groups in India's capital Delhi.
26th January 1961: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Duke OF Edinburgh with officials from local girl guide and scout groups in India's capital Delhi.

Queen Elizabeth’s 1961 visit to India was a highly significant one, as it was the very first visit from a UK monarch following the end of the rule of the British Empire in the country.

The country gained independence in 1947, but prior to this, Elizabeth’s parents King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother were considered Emperor and Empress of India – titles which ceased to be used following the end of the Empire in India.

As such, Queen Elizabeth’s visit to India in the early 60s was significant, as it was the first time a monarch had visited without being considered as 'head' of the country. During her trip, alongside Prince Philip, she paid a visit to the Taj Mahal and to New Delhi, and attended the annual Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. She also met with Mother Theresa, whom she presented with an honorary Order of Merit.

Her meeting with Nelson Mandela

The Queen At A Banquet In Cape Town, South Africa
The Queen At A Banquet In Cape Town, South Africa

In 1995, Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by Prince Philip, made her first official visit to South Africa as monarch – though she had visited previously in 1947, before she became Queen. The Queen was unable to take any visits to the country before the 90s, due to the ongoing apartheid there.

However, in 1995, Queen Elizabeth and Philip were invited by President Nelson Mandela to visit once again. Though the pair had met in Zimbabwe five years prior, this trip was the first time that Mandela had officially hosted the monarch. The visit was just a year after Mandela had been elected as President, so it was certainly a significant moment to see the meeting of two highly revered public figures.

Her trip to the races in 1970 in Sydney

Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Anne at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney at the start of their royal tour of Australia, April 1970.
Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Anne at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney at the start of their royal tour of Australia, April 1970.

Queen Elizabeth II indulged in one of the greatest passions in her life during a trip to Sydney, Australia, when she visited the Randwick Racecourse in April 1970 alongside Princess Anne.

She first visited the racecourse during her 1954 visit to the country, during which they named a race after her, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

During her second visit in the 70s, the horse Panvale won with 100/1 odds, and the apprentice jockey riding him, Peter Cook, won his first race as a jockey. To celebrate, the Queen presented Peter with his winning trophy, and appeared delighted at his early success in a sport she loved so much.

Riding an elephant in 1961 in India

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II waves to the crowd as she rides an elephant next to Maharaja of Jaipur Man Singh II at the City Palace in Jaipur on January 24, 1961. (Photo by CENTRAL PRESS / AFP)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II waves to the crowd as she rides an elephant next to Maharaja of Jaipur Man Singh II at the City Palace in Jaipur on January 24, 1961. (Photo by CENTRAL PRESS / AFP)

During her 1961 trip to India following the breakdown of the British Empire, Queen Elizabeth II showed off her adventurous streak, opting to ride on top of an elephant in Jaipur.

She rode the elegantly decorated elephant within the courtyard of the royal palace, alongside Sir Man Singh, the Maharajah (Prince) of Jaipur at the time. To ensure she was dressed appropriately, the Queen is seen in the picture were a regal gold outfit. What a picture!

Her tour with Princess Anne and Prince Charles in Australia

Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Princess Anne disembark from an Air New Zealand aircraft during their visit to New Zealand, March 1970. They are there in connection with the bicentenary of Captain Cook's 1770 expedition to Australia.
Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Princess Anne disembark from an Air New Zealand aircraft during their visit to New Zealand, March 1970. They are there in connection with the bicentenary of Captain Cook's 1770 expedition to Australia.

In 1970, the Queen, Prince Philip, the then-Prince Charles and Princess Anne undertook a hugely popular tour of Australia, which coincided with the centenary of Captain James Cook’s sailing of the Australian coat in 1770.

The royal foursome drew huge crowds during the weeks-long tour, and toured around both Brisbane and Queensland whilst there, visiting the James Cook University, Green Island, the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, Mount Isa and many more. While they carried out many engagements as a family, they also spent some time visiting organisations on their own; the Queen and Prince Philip, for example, visited the town of Longreach without their two eldest children.

A banquet on the floor in Tuvalu

The Queen And Prince Philip Attending A Traditional Feast During Their Tour Of The South Pacific.
The Queen And Prince Philip Attending A Traditional Feast During Their Tour Of The South Pacific.

In 1982, the Queen and her husband paid a visit to the island country of Tuvalu, in the South Pacific – the country formerly known as the Ellice Islands.

The couple spent two days in Tuvalu, during which they enjoyed a feast of traditional local dishes at a banquet which saw them seated on the floor and wearing floral headpieces; a rather unusual sight for the usually very formal Queen and her husband.

During their trip, the royal couple also ceremonially installed a piece of concrete at a future Parliament building. To mark the visit, a range of commemorative stamps were issued by the Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau. Since that visit, both King Charles and the Prince and Princess of Wales have visited Tuvalu too.

Meeting crowds in New Zealand in 1977

Queen Elizabeth II meets the crowds during her royal tour of New Zealand, 1977.
Queen Elizabeth II meets the crowds during her royal tour of New Zealand, 1977.

The Queen was seen beaming from ear-to-ear on a walkabout during an official visit to New Zealand in 1977, which was made to mark her Silver jubilee and 25 years since her accession to the throne.

The Queen was accompanied by her husband the Duke of Edinburgh for this tour – and interestingly, the schedule they undertook actually mirrored that of the tour they took in 1953-1954, when Elizabeth first came to the throne, as an homage to her 25th year on the throne.

Everywhere the pair went they were greeted with adoring crowds lining the streets, ensuring it was a special moment for the royal couple.

Her significant tour of Sudan

Cheering Ethiopians line the route as Queen Elizabeth II and President Dr El Tieani El Mahi drive past in an open car during a royal tour of the Sudan by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Cheering Ethiopians line the route as Queen Elizabeth II and President Dr El Tieani El Mahi drive past in an open car during a royal tour of the Sudan by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

During a time of significant political turmoil and unrest within the country, Queen Elizabeth took the time to pay an important visit to the Republic of the Sudan in February 1965.

It was a significant move due to the unrest there at the time, which many thought might make it dangerous for the UK monarch. However, it appears the Queen gladly spent a few days there and was greeted with a warm welcome, with crowds of onlookers lining the streets to say hello.

She spent part of her time on state duties whilst there, whilst also squeezing in the chance to explore some of her interests during the trip. For example, she spent her first day at the Khartoum racecourse, before then visiting the construction of the Roseires dam. She also visited the Gezira irrigation project in Medani, which had been set up by the British government some decades earlier.

Receiving local crafts in Mexico in 1975

Queen Elizabeth II receives some local crafts during her state visit to Mexico, 1975.
Queen Elizabeth II receives some local crafts during her state visit to Mexico, 1975.

The Queen made two trips to Mexico during her reign, and the first took place in 1975. She toured across Yucatán, Mexico City, Oaxaca, Guanajuato and Veracruz in the space of a week, and took in a whole range of sights and activities during that time.

She and Philip arrived on the royal yacht and headed straight to Mexico City. Whilst there, they had a meeting with former President Luis Echeverría and his wife, María, before heading to Oaxaca city. While there, they spent some time in the local markets being shown creations from locals. It’s even reported that they purchased a few items themselves!

Visiting a newly-unified Germany in 1990

La Reine Elisabeth II en visite sur la base militaire de Laarbrugh le 23 novmbre 1990, Allemagne.
La Reine Elisabeth II en visite sur la base militaire de Laarbrugh le 23 novmbre 1990, Allemagne.

The Queen paid a significant visit to Germany in 1990, shortly after the unification of East and West Germany as a result of the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.

The Berlin Wall fell in November 1989, signalling the end of the Cold War and the Soviet Union, which had occupied Germany for years. East and West Germany were officially unified on October 3, 1990, and the Queen visited towards the end of that month, at the tail-end of the political unrest.

While the Queen was largely welcomed in West Germany and had visited that area on previous tours, she met with a slightly more tense reaction when she visited Dresden in former East Germany, which had experienced more of a difficult relationship with the United Kingdom.

When she poked fun at Justin Trudeau

Queen Elizabeth II gives a speech as she attends a dinner at the Corinthia Palace Hotel in Attard during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) on November 27, 2015 near Valletta, Malta. Queen Elizabeth II, The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall arrived today to attend the Commonwealth Heads of State Summit.

During her 2015 trip to Malta, Queen Elizabeth II opened the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, delivering a speech to everyone gathered there. Before the meeting, the monarch and various heads of the other Commonwealth countries gathered for a State dinner, during which the then newly crowned Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, made a speech introducing Her Majesty.

During his speech, he noted that he was the 12th Canadian Prime Minister the Queen had seen during her reign – a comment which prompted a hilarious response from the lady herself. She opened her speech by saying, "Thank you, Mr Prime Minister of Canada, for making me feel so old!"

Dancing in Ottawa in 1951

The Duke of Edinburgh dances with his wife, Princess Elizabeth, at a square dance held in their honour in Ottawa, by Governor General Viscount Alexander, 17th October 1951. The dance was one of the events arranged during their Canadian tour.
The Duke of Edinburgh dances with his wife, Princess Elizabeth, at a square dance held in their honour in Ottawa, by Governor General Viscount Alexander, 17th October 1951. The dance was one of the events arranged during their Canadian tour.

It was rare to see Queen Elizabeth being anything less than formal, such was her important royal role as monarch.

However, in 1951, before she was Queen, she let her hair down during a royal tour of Canada with Prince Philip; her very first visit to the country.

During a private dance event at Ottawa’s Government House in between other official duties, the then-Princess Elizabeth was seen square dancing with her husband, wearing relaxed and informal American clothing.

The event was strictly invitation only, and largely included people from the Canadian government and their guests – but the pictures are certainly a brilliant memory of a more informal Elizabeth on a royal tour. Tony Griffin, an attendee at the event, recalls that the royal couple's dancing came quite naturally. He said that they "caught on very quickly, due in part to the pair's knowledge of Highland Dancing."

Kicking off a hockey game in Slovenia

HRH Queen Elizabeth II throws in the puck to start an ice hockey match between Aqua City Poprad and Guildford Flames at the ice hockey stadium on the second day of a tour of Slovakia on October 24, 2008 in Bratislava, Slovakia. The Queen and the Duke are on a two day tour of Slovakia at the invitation of President Ivan Gasparovic.
HRH Queen Elizabeth II throws in the puck to start an ice hockey match between Aqua City Poprad and Guildford Flames at the ice hockey stadium on the second day of a tour of Slovakia on October 24, 2008 in Bratislava, Slovakia. The Queen and the Duke are on a two day tour of Slovakia at the invitation of President Ivan Gasparovic.

In 2008, the Queen and Prince Philip paid a visit to Central Europe, embarking on a days-long tour of Slovakia and Slovenia in October of that year.

One of the best moments was during the couple’s last day of their visit to Slovakia when they attended an ice hockey game between Guildford Flames and the Aquacity Poprad.

Not only did the monarch look chic in a hat and a coat with a faux fur lining, but she also kicked off the game by ceremonially dropping the puck, alongside Slovakia’s Prime Minister.

Visiting Finland in 1976

Queen Elizabeth II in Helsinki during a state visit to Finland, May 1976.
Queen Elizabeth II in Helsinki during a state visit to Finland, May 1976.

Queen Elizabeth II looked happy and enthusiastic on a 1976 visit to Finland - her very first visit to the country.

She was joined by Prince Philip for this tour and as ever, it was a busy one. The couple toured the country’s capital of Helsinki and also spent time strolling around a Finnish forest. Elizabeth and her husband were officially hosted by the President at the time, Urho Kekkonen, and enjoyed an official dinner at the Presidential Palace one night, and an evening at his summer residence, too.

Waving from the royal yacht in Kuwait

The Queen And Prince Philip Waving On Board Royal Yacht Britannia During An Official Visit To Kuwait During The Tour Of The Gulf (day Date Not Certain. Gulf Tour Dates 12 Feb - 1 March 1979)
The Queen And Prince Philip Waving On Board Royal Yacht Britannia During An Official Visit To Kuwait During The Tour Of The Gulf (day Date Not Certain. Gulf Tour Dates 12 Feb - 1 March 1979)

Prince Philip and the Queen delighted crowds in Kuwait when they visited the country in February 1979.

Though the pair arrived via plane (a Concord no less), they also had the Royal Yacht Britannia on hand as they travelled on their three-week tour of the Gulf.

One of the most iconic images of this royal tour is the pair waving from the deck of the royal yacht at the start of the tour in Kuwait. The royal yacht was also where they hosted the Emir Of Kuwait at the time, Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, for a dinner reception. This moment was historic for another reason too; it was the very first time in history that a British monarch had visited the country.

On a boat in Funafuti, in Tuvalu

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh are bought ashore from HMY Britannia by a fleet of local canoes to the shore of Funafuti in Tuvalu on October 26, 1982 during the Royal Tour of the South Pacific.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh are bought ashore from HMY Britannia by a fleet of local canoes to the shore of Funafuti in Tuvalu on October 26, 1982 during the Royal Tour of the South Pacific.

On the Queen and Elizabeth’s trip to Tuvalu in October of 1982 – their first royal trip to the island nation – the couple travelled there and back in the Royal Yacht Britannia, which they also used to move around the island.

But the yacht was unable to dock in the shallow water around Tuvalu, so the couple were required to be transported from the yacht to the shore and back, giving us one of the best Queen Elizabeth tour moments ever. The Queen and Philip were transported on a fleet of canoes that had been elaborately decorated by the locals, with the monarch in one and her husband in another. What a great moment!

Drinking from a coconut in Kiribati

Queen Elizabeth II, Kiribati, Queen Elizabeth II drinks from a coconut, 23rd October 1982.
Queen Elizabeth II, Kiribati, Queen Elizabeth II drinks from a coconut, 23rd October 1982.

Philip and Elizabeth made sure to get stuck into the local culture when they visited Kiribati in the South Pacific in 1982.

It was rare to ever see the Queen (or her husband) eat or drink anything while in view of the public on royal tours, so it was quite the moment to see the royal couple enjoy a sip from a coconut as part of their welcome ceremony in Tarawa, Kiribati. The couple enjoyed their drinks as they watched some traditional dancing from locals.

A visit to the Vatican to meet the Pope

The Queen And Pope John Paul II Exchanging Gifts In His Private Office In The Vatican City, Rome
The Queen And Pope John Paul II Exchanging Gifts In His Private Office In The Vatican City, Rome

The Queen visited a total of five different popes during various royal tours across her lifetime, but she arguably had a special connection with Pope John Paul II.

One of the most significant royal tour moments of the monarch’s life was when she visited the Vatican in Rome in October 2000. The Pope and the Queen, two of the biggest figureheads of the Catholic religion, shared a private conversation before exchanging gifts in Pope John Paul II's private office in the Vatican City. Before this, she had spent time at the Vatican with Pope John Paul II back in 1980, when she also delivered a speech in front of him and members of the clergy within the room.

Relaxed in Bahrain

The Queen Talking With The Emir Of Bahrain (amir) During Horse Racing And Camel Racing In Bahrain
The Queen Talking With The Emir Of Bahrain (amir) During Horse Racing And Camel Racing In Bahrain

A brilliant image of Queen Elizabeth on one of her countless royal tours is when she was captured looking relaxed whilst leaning across a chair to talk to the Emir of Bahrain at the time, Isa bin Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, whilst the pair were taking in a day of horse racing and camel racing. The picture was taken during Elizabeth and Philip’s tour of the Gulf between February and March of 1979.

The image shows the monarch looking informal and engrossed in her conversation; a somewhat unusual picture of the Queen, as she was often seen in more formal positions, be it sat upright at a state dinner, or stating up for an audience with a Prime Minister.

On tour with King George, Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother

Rene du Preez, daughter of the Mayor of Ladybrand, presenting Princess Elizabeth with a bunch of flowers, seated with her mother Queen Elizabeth and sister Princess Margaret (right), in the Orange Free State, March 19th 1947.
Rene du Preez, daughter of the Mayor of Ladybrand, presenting Princess Elizabeth with a bunch of flowers, seated with her mother Queen Elizabeth and sister Princess Margaret (right), in the Orange Free State, March 19th 1947.

One of the biggest royal tours of Queen Elizabeth II’s life was her 1947 tour alongside her parents, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and her sister Princess Margaret. It was the first time that the immediate royal family had undertaken a royal tour together as adults, and the then-Princess Elizabeth even celebrated her 21st birthday during that tour, making it a very special trip indeed.

The foursome visited an enormous 400 cities during this tour covering over 10,000 miles mostly by train. It was also the first State visit abroad from the royal family since 1939, as a result of the lack of travelling that was possible during the Second World War.

It was also on this tour that Princess Elizabeth made her now iconic speech from the grounds of Government House in Cape Town, South Africa. To mark her 21st birthday, she delivered the now world-famous line: "I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service."

Inspecting a guard of honour in Trinidad

Queen Elizabeth II inspects a guard of honour in Trinidad during a royal tour of the Caribbean.
Queen Elizabeth II inspects a guard of honour in Trinidad during a royal tour of the Caribbean.

On a royal tour of the Caribbean in 1996, the Queen inspected a guard of honour at the Teteron Barracks in Trinidad, a military base that formed part of Trinidad and Tobago’s Defence Force.

The image is strikingly similar to many taken in the UK. The Queen would often inspect UK military troops during important milestones, such as the annual Trooping the Colour celebrations.

The Queen’s visit to Trinidad & Tobago formed part of a larger, and very busy, Caribbean tour, in which she and the Duke of Edinburgh stopped in Saint Kitts & Nevis, the Bahamas, Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Montserrat, and many more.

Taking a photo in Sri Lanka

Queen Elizabeth II taking a photograph with a Canon Sure Shot 110 camera during a visit to Sri Lanka, 24 October 1981. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II taking a photograph with a Canon Sure Shot 110 camera during a visit to Sri Lanka, 24 October 1981. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Though most of her life was spent in front of the camera, on the rare occasion, Queen Elizabeth II was seen taking photographs of her own during her royal tours. One such occasion was during an October 1981 trip to Sri Lanka.

During this trip, the Queen was photographed taking a snap on her Canon Sure Shot 110 camera, one of her many beloved cameras. It wasn’t clear what she was taking a photo of, but the aim of the trip – the second of three she made during her reign – was to visit the construction of Sri Lanka’s Victoria Dam, Sri Lanka’s largest hydroelectric project, which was constructed by a UK firm.

A serious fashion moment with Anne in Vienna

Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Anne attend a function at the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, during a State Visit to Austria, 7th May 1969.
Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Anne attend a function at the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, during a State Visit to Austria, 7th May 1969.

In 1969, the Queen, Prince Philip, and their only daughter, Princess Anne, undertook a visit to Austria. The family started their tour in Vienna, where they visited the Spanish Riding School, took in a Horse Show, and attended a glamorous Gala Reception held by the Austrian President at the time, Franz Jonas.

But arguably the highlight of the proceedings in Vienna was when Anne, the Queen and Philip hosted a Return Banquet for the Austrian President. For the special evening, both Anne and her mother coordinated brilliantly in some fantastically glamorous outfits and tiaras.

While Anne wore a seriously chic white gown and tiara, the Queen matched her daughter in a stunning green ensemble, and the glittering Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, making for an iconic fashion moment.

Her final visit to Canada in 2010

Queen Elizabeth II visits the Canadian Museum of Nature on June 30, 2010 in Ottawa, Canada. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are on an eight day tour of Canada starting in Halifax and finishing in Toronto. The trip is to celebrate the centenary of the Canadian Navy and to mark Canada Day. On July 6th The royal couple will make their way to New York where the Queen will address the UN and visit Ground Zero.

Queen Elizabeth undertook her final tour of Canada in 2010, and it was an important visit, as Canada was the country the monarch visited the most throughout her 70-year reign.

It’s estimated that she undertook 22 different royal tours of Canada, one of the member states of the Commonwealth, so it was fitting that it was one of her very final visits abroad at the age of 84.

But despite being in her 80s, she and Philip’s trip to Canada was no less busy than usual! They visited between June and July, meaning they were there for Canada Day, a day of annual celebrations. In fact, it was the seventh time the Queen was in the country for Canada Day. In a speech on Parliament Hill that day, she highly praised the country, saying, "This nation has dedicated itself to being a caring home for its own, a sanctuary for others and an example to the world."

Her 1986 visit to China

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visit the Great Wall of China, 14th October 1986.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visit the Great Wall of China, 14th October 1986.

Queen Elizabeth II was the very first UK monarch to visit China in 1986, and it was considered to be an important visit in bolstering relations between China and the United Kingdom.

During the trip, the Queen and Prince Philip were shown numerous important sites in China, including the Great Wall, as well as the Forbidden City in Beijing. She also visited the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an. This remains the only visit to China from a serving British monarch; Charles and William have both visited the country previously, but not (of course) as the UK monarch.

An important trip to Ghana

Queen Elizabeth II makes her way underneath a large, gaily colored umbrella, to a dais to watch the Durbar of the Ashanti Chiefs, at Kumasi Sports Stadium.
Queen Elizabeth II makes her way underneath a large, gaily colored umbrella, to a dais to watch the Durbar of the Ashanti Chiefs, at Kumasi Sports Stadium.

The Queen visited Ghana in November 1961, just a few short years after becoming monarch, and was greeted warmly as she attended a range of engagements there.

Her entire trip to Ghana was an important one, as it is claimed that the monarch was keen to visit to ensure that Ghana remained in the Commonwealth. The trip was even featured in the Netflix series, The Crown.

The Queen's visit also resulted in one of the best pictures of Queen Elizabeth II on a royal tour ever taken, which saw her welcomed into the Kumasi Sports Stadium during one engagement under an enormous colourful umbrella.