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Editor’s Blog: An Affair to Remember

A holiday romance can be as much part of the adventure of travel as the destination itself – an invigorating break from the norm in a tropical climate.

But when one of those involved is heir to the British throne, things can be a touch more serious.

Prince William is likely to have performed wonders for the Kenyan tourism industry today after confirming he will marry his long-term sweetheart Kate Middleton next year while on a break in the country.

The hotel where the happy couple were resident during their “private break” is also likely to reap the rewards.

But what of those other locations made famous as the background to the love lives of the British royal family? Here we look at those locations made famous as the backdrop to the love lives of the British royal family.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh

In the aftermath of the Second World War the mood in Britain was lightened by the marriage of Princess Elizabeth to Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark.

Following a service at Westminster Abbey - a destination of note for centuries – the couple departed for a honeymoon at Birkhall on the Balmoral Estate.

The residence remains in the royal family, presently occupied by Prince Charles and his second wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and is thus out of reach of tourists. However, during their extended trip Philip and Elizabeth also stayed at Broadlands in Hampshire. This country house is still open to the public, with commercial property also available on the site.

Interestingly, the newly married couple also briefly inhabited Windlesham Moor in Surrey, which is now occupied by Sheik Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai.

Over the following decades Queen Elizabeth would tour the world, raising the public profile of innumerable locations. Most recently she celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 2002 with a global tour of her realms, beginning in Jamaica, while also taking to the world stage during an address to the United Nations in New York earlier this year.

Royal Yacht Britannia is now a destination in Scotland

Anne, Princess Royal

Princess Anne has enjoyed two marriages, the first to Mark Phillips, then a Lieutenant in the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards, at Westminster Abbey. Following their vows, the couple settled at Gatcombe Park, which is now a popular equine destination, hosting the annual Gatcombe International Horse Trials.

Following divorce, Anne married Timothy Laurence, a commander in the Royal Navy, at Crathie Kirk, near Balmoral Castle, in 1992.

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson

With a touch more glamour than his sister, Prince Andrew has maintained a higher profile, especially during his relationship with Sarah Ferguson.

Taking their vows at Westminster Abbey in 1986, the relationship would eventually end in divorce in 1996. Perhaps the final nail in the coffin came when pictures of John Bryan, an American financial manager — apparently in the act of sucking the toes of a topless Sarah — were published in the Daily Mirror, catapulting that region into the international spotlight.

Andrew has since gone on to endorse the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, while Sarah has concentrated her time on the United States.

Sarah Ferguson doing her bit for French tourism

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex

The youngest of Queen Elizabeth’s four children, Prince Edward was married as late as 1999. Taking Sophie, Countess of Wessex as his bride, the ceremony took place in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

The pair have since taken on an ambassadorial role for the United Kingdom, with Prince Edward taking up the role of president of the Commonwealth Games Federation until 2006.

During his tenure he opened the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Malaysia, greatly boosting the profile of the destination on the international stage.

Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer

Perhaps the most famous royal wedding of them all was that of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer. The ceremony itself – where a nervous prince famously forgot to kiss his young bride – took place at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, a tourist attraction in its own right, before following in the Queen’s footsteps at Broadlands.

However, the stay there was short-lived, with the newly married couple spending their honeymoon aboard the royal yacht Britannia and she embarked on a Mediterranean cruise.

A gift from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the voyage called at Tunisia, Sardinia, Greece and Egypt with the couple performing official duties at each stop.

The yacht has since been decommissioned – with the normally impassive Queen shedding a tear publicly after disembarking for the last time – and is open to visitors at her final mooring in Edinburgh.

Princess Diana at the Taj Mahal

The couple would divorce in 1996, the year before Diana’s death in a road accident.

Those looking for bad omens were, however, rewarded early on when Diana visited perhaps the great monument to love in the world, the Taj Mahal, alone.

For many it was symbolic of the problems which were to come, as Charles struggled to distance himself from long-term companion Camilla Parker-Bowles.

Nonetheless, the Indian monument enjoyed a renewed interest following the visit.