No one enjoys a summer getaway quite as much as the royal family. Of course, there’s the late Queen Elizabeth’s well-documented love of Scotland, where Her Majesty was joined each year by large numbers of The Firm for some country pursuits—but the Windsors also have a clear penchant for escaping to tropical islands in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Mediterranean as well. Below, Vogue rounds up some of the British royals’ favorite sun-drenched spots to inspire your next trip.
Queen Elizabeth II lived in Villa Guardamangia in Pietà between 1949 and 1951, and fell in love with the Maltese archipelago. “Visiting Malta is always very special for me,” Her Majesty reflected during a trip a few years ago. “I remember happy days here with Prince Philip when we were first married.” She shared a connection to the island nation with the Duchess of Sussex, who travelled to Malta in 2015 in order to learn more about her great-great-grandmother Mary Bird, praising the country’s natural beauty in her now-defunct blog, The Tig.
King Charles, then the Prince of Wales, and Princess Diana first visited Mallorca with Princes Harry and William in 1986 at the invitation of King Juan Carlos I. The family stayed at the Spanish royals’ summer residence, Marivent Palace, for the duration of their trip. Charles and Diana returned together throughout the late ’80s and ’90s, with Diana also visiting by herself on a number of occasions. She is said to have been especially fond of the La Residencia hotel in the village of Deià.
Saint Kitts & Nevis
Believed to be Diana, Princess of Wales’s favorite spot in the Caribbean, Nevis has a resting population of just over 11,000 people and is part of the nation of Saint Kitts. The royal first visited the tiny island in the early ’90s when her separation from Charles was being announced—checking into the Montpelier Plantation Inn with William and Harry. The Duke of Sussex returned to Nevis in 2016 to spotlight the work of the local Sea Turtle Conservation Programme, inspecting turtles’ nests along the idyllic Lovers Beach.
Queen Elizabeth II visited the Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire every summer since assuming the throne in 1953. She usually began by taking up residence in Craigowan Lodge—a seven-bedroom home about a mile from Balmoral Castle, where Charles and Diana frequently stayed during their marriage. Once Balmoral Castle closed to the public in July, Her Majesty then moved into the Scottish Baronial building for the remainder of the season. First built by Prince Albert and Queen Victoria in the 1850s, Balmoral is nestled within more than 50,000 acres of farmland, with mountains, lochs, and glens beyond. It was said to be the Queen’s favorite residence.
King Charles and Queen Camilla are particularly fond of visiting Corfu in the summer months—reportedly opting to stay at the Rothschild villa in Kerasia on many of their trips. Charles, in particular, has pointed out that he has “Greece in his blood” thanks to his father the Duke of Edinburgh’s heritage, and believes himself “fortunate to have visited some of Greece’s many beautiful and unique places.” Away from the island’s busier towns, Kerasia is considered one of Corfu’s most picturesque bays.
While numerous members of the royal family have visited Botswana through the years, it’s the Duke and Duchess of Sussex who are most enamored with the southern African country. Harry first visited Botswana shortly after the death of his mother in 1997—and has made regular trips there ever since, famously inviting Meghan to join him on safari shortly after the two began dating in 2016. “We camped out under the stars where we were really by ourselves,” the Duke recalled while celebrating their engagement – which saw him present the future Duchess with a ring featuring a Botswana diamond. The couple also visited the remote safari lodge, Meno a Kwena, near the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, for Meghan’s 36th birthday.
Lord Glenconner first bought the island of Mustique in the Caribbean archipelago of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in 1958, gifting Princess Margaret a plot of land there in 1960 following her wedding to Vogue photographer Lord Snowdon. The royal promptly built her own villa, Les Jolies Eaux, visiting twice a year in February and November until her death. While leaked photographs of Margaret with her lover Roddy Llewellyn in Mustique in 1976 ultimately led to her divorce from Lord Snowdon, she still considered the island the only place she could truly “relax”. The Prince and Princess of Wales are also fans, reportedly staying in the Villa Antilles during a trip to Mustique in 2019.
Following his abdication in 1936, the Duke of Windsor was made the Governor of the Bahamas, moving into Sigrist House in Nassau with the Duchess of Windsor for several years during the ’40s. The 15,000-square-foot home is set on a bluff known as Prospect Ridge overlooking Cable Beach. Nassau later played host to Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon during the ’60s, as well.
The Prince and Princess of Wales honeymooned in the Seychelles following their wedding in 2011—reportedly checking into the private North Island resort, which has just 11 luxury villas available for guests and is focused on supporting biodiversity in the region. There’s even a dedicated Environment Centre on site to teach visitors about indigenous flora and fauna. The couple had previously visited Desroches together in 2007, a paradisiacal four-mile-long island roughly 150 miles south of Mahe, the main island in the Seychelles.