Strange Things Queen Camilla Brings With Her When She Travels

If you think being a British royal is all about lounging around the palace and noshing on tea and crumpets, you're quite mistaken. The senior royals maintain an active schedule that includes frequent local and international trips. Sure, they slow down on occasion — William and Catherine, Prince and Princess of Wales, are currently pausing their extended tours until their children's school year ends — but they still keep busy with local engagements. The official royal website's news vertical chronicles all the receptions, visits, luncheons, and tours attended by everyone from King Charles III and William down to the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh.

Ever since she achieved her dream of marrying her favorite prince, Queen Camilla has stepped up to the challenge of maintaining a busy social schedule. A typical day might find her opening the annual British Flowers Week Exhibition, accepting her appointment as Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Lancers, dashing off to Ireland with the king, and returning in time to say hello to the students and horses of the British Racing School. Whether she's off on an overnight trip or planning an extended overseas stay, she makes sure to pack all her necessities — but "necessities" for a royal are often different from the ones for us commoners. These are some unexpected items you're likely to find in the queen's luggage when she travels.

The queen is always prepared to stretch it out

To ensure she stays in tip-top shape for all her royal engagements, the septuagenarian queen regularly practices low-impact stretching exercises. (The National Institutes of Health affirms that regular exercise is essential for older adults to help them live longer and without physical limitations.) The Express once quoted a book anecdote recalling a Southeast Asia tour Charles and Camilla made in 2017. While in Singapore, the then-Duchess of Cornwall visited a seniors community center and dropped in on a yoga class. "It's very good for you, yoga, isn't it?" she said. "I do a bit of yoga...and a bit of Pilates." Camilla then revealed that she always brings a yoga block with her on her travels. Yoga blocks are a sturdy portable prop that provide support for the arms, back, and other areas when maintaining poses. 

The queen also takes ballet classes for older dancers, and believes in walking wherever she can. To make sure she gets her daily steps in, she wears a FitBit Charge3. The water-resistant fitness tracker also distinguishes between different types of exercises (such as swimming and running), and can be programmed to set a sleep schedule — another handy convenience for a traveling royal.

The royal consort B's her own B

The royals may be known for their formal ways, but that doesn't mean they don't enjoy a bit of fun — or some liquid refreshment. The late Queen Elizabeth was known to prefer a cocktail of gin and Dubonnet, a French fortified wine; this was also a favorite of her mum, the Queen Mother. William and Catherine, the Prince and Princess of Wales, dropped by a London pub for a pint two days before King Charles' coronation. As for the monarchs themselves, the king is fond of a good gin and tonic, while Camilla keeps it simple with red wine. In fact, they often bring along a carry-on bag with their favorite drinks when they travel. It sounds odd — are they really worried their hosts won't have a handy supply of liquor? — but there's actually a logical reason.

It helps to understand that royals have to follow some weird rules when drinking alcohol. They're permitted to drink on most occasions, but not to excess, and never during afternoon garden parties. (It's considered improper to start drinking before 4:00 PM.) The most senior family members also have to keep safety in mind. Even with their heavy security, there's still the risk someone might try to poison their drinks, hence the travel bag. A source told The Express that a police bodyguard is tasked with carrying the boozy luggage. Presumably Charles and Camilla are free to pour their own refreshments once they're settled into their accommodations.

Camilla must always bring this outfit with her

As a senior royal, Queen Camilla always follows certain fashion rules. When you're a commoner, you can be seen in public wearing sweatpants, flip-flops, and T-shirts from your first college concert, but when you marry into the British palace, you have to look presentable at all times. Camilla wears coat dresses in colder weather so she doesn't have to remove any outerwear. Royal women are also expected to wear heels and stockings and keep their nails a neutral shade. As a matter of personal preference, Camilla also accessorizes often with pearl necklaces and black leather gloves. Like the late queen, she also sports bright colors so as to make herself noticeable.

When the queen travels, she keeps her host destination in mind when choosing outfits. For instance, on a recent trip to Northern Ireland, she wore a bright green dress in honor of the color most associated with the country. But no matter where she goes, Camilla has to pack a black outfit. It's a rule all royals must follow, per The Express:  In case an important death occurs while they're away from home, they need to be funeral-ready as soon as they return. Queen Elizabeth established the protocol as a result of her own sad experience; when her father, King George VI, died, she was in Africa, and hadn't packed any mourning clothes. Flying back to London, she had to wait on the plane for staff to bring her an appropriate outfit.

She has a preferred shoe style

Whether she's wearing a coat dress, a floral print, or the aforementioned mourning outfit, Camilla is almost never seen without her preferred footwear. Page Six reports the queen owns 11 pairs of Sole Bliss shoes, a brand specializing in ultra-cushioned comfortable styles for wide feet and bunions. Her nude Ingrid pump, seen here, is a particular favorite; she's reportedly worn it more than 80 times over the last five years! And while she could easily afford to replace the pair — at $279, it's a royal bargain — it's said Camilla simply has the shoes repaired when they show signs of wear. 

Camilla's shoes played a part in a mini-royal scandal back in 2012. On a trip to Kuwait with Charles, the then-Duchess of Cornwall forgot to pack the shoes she planned to wear to a dinner with the host royal family. Per The Evening Standard, her staff hustled to get the pumps flown over from London in time, which raised more than a few eyebrows at the time because of the expense and fuel involved. A palace spokesperson insisted "a number of items and paperwork" had been sent over as well, and the duchess had never asked to have the shoes retrieved. In the end, Camilla wore a different pair after all. But after that embarrassment, it's quite likely she double-checks to make sure all her footwear is packed before she goes anywhere.

Camilla may bring an unexpected medical supply

Being a queen consort means not having to worry about tossing toiletries into your carry-on at the last minute, or debating whether to pack an extra cardigan just in case the nights get chilly. The royals have staff to take care of such things; they're tasked with knowing precisely what types of outfits Camilla will need for each occasion, and which accessories she prefers with each. The Daily Mail also reports that Camilla often brings her hairstylist and makeup artist with her on extended travels — no fussing with a hotel hair dryer for her!

For senior royals such as Charles and Camilla, their entourage also includes an official doctor. The naval M.D. is responsible for bringing any medications they currently take, along with first aid supplies, a defibrillator, and other remedies for various aches and upsets. Reportedly, the doctor also packs a supply of blood in the monarchs' appropriate types, in case (heaven forbid) the worst happens and the royals need an immediate transfusion. (We can only presume this is an exception to airline rules about bringing liquids aboard.)