The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge kicked off a three-day tour of Britain on the Queen's royal train this weekend. While Queen Elizabeth II sometimes travels via public transport – including for her Christmas holidays at Sandringham – she also has her very own train, which she uses on special occasions throughout the year.
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The vehicle, which has been used by the royal family since 1840, is the source of much fascination and has previously been featured in Channel 5 documentary, 'Secrets of the Royal Train'.
We take a sneak peek inside the Queen's royal train and reveal its' secrets…
WATCH: Everything you need to know about the Queen's royal train
Which royals can travel on the Queen's royal train?
Royals are only permitted to use the train on invitation from the monarch, and it is typically reserved for only the senior royals, including Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke of Edinburgh. Meanwhile, the Duchess of Sussex became the youngest royal to accompany the Queen on the royal train in June 2018, as she carried out a day of engagements with the Queen in Cheshire.
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William has previously travelled on the train, but this tour marks his first journey with his wife Catherine. As a child, he travelled on it to Balmoral, and he made the journey to his mother's ancestral home Althorp on the day of her funeral in 1997.
In 2003, ahead of his 21st birthday, William also travelled overnight on the train to Bangor with his father to carry out a day of engagements in north Wales.
The Queen has an office on her royal train
What are the carriages like on the Queen's royal train?
As you would expect, the vehicle is not your average train; the nine-carriage Royal Train is equipped with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, a dining room that seats 12, and an office where the Queen is said to work during her travels. There is also some room for staff from the royal household who accompany the Queen or her guests to their destination.
Its livery is a pristine, highly polished burgundy known as Royal Claret, emblazoned with royal crests, with black coach lining and a grey roof.
There is also a dining room for royal visitors
The insides are surprisingly functional rather than palatial; royal aides once described it as being fitted with bathroom fixtures 'you could find in Homebase or B&Q'.
Does the Queen have her own carriage on the royal train?
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Yes. She has a private 75ft long air-conditioned and heated saloon carriage. It contains a bedroom with a single bed, a sitting room, a desk, dining quarters – and it's own private bathroom featuring a full-sized bathtub.
The Duke of Edinburgh boasts his own similar carriage, which includes a kitchen. Scottish landscapes and Victorian prints of rail journeys adorn the walls in both carriages.
What is the history of the Queen's royal train?
Queen Victoria's Saloon Carriage is now on display at the Railway Museum
The Royal Train was first used in 1840 by Queen Consort Adelaide (the title given to the wife of King William IV), who rode the caboose from Nottingham to Leeds. However, the first monarch to ride the train was Queen Victoria, who used it to travel from London to Windsor two years later.
It has since been used for many memorable journeys, including transporting Queen Victoria’s body from London to Windsor, where she was buried, following her funeral service in 1901. On a happier occasion, Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, travelled on the royal train to start their honeymoon in Scotland before embarking on a cruise through the Greek Islands to Egypt on Royal Yacht Britannia.
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