Travel: Packed Lives: The Queen takes three outfits per day and a set of mourning clothes - just in case - all packed in mobile wardrobes and ready ironed

Carol Wright
Sunday 23 February 1997 01:02 GMT

The Queen's longest trip was a 44,000-mile Commonwealth tour with 12 tons of luggage in 1953. When she travels her cases are old fashioned metal-bound trunks, labelled in yellow with padlocks, and engraved with "HM The Queen". The Crown Jewels cannot be taken out of the country so items are borrowed from Commonwealth hosts when necessary. She takes her personal jewellery travels in a battered bag. Transparent umbrellas go in Queen Alexandra's parasol case.

The Queen has available to her at least three outfits per day, which are ready ironed, numbered and travel in blue steel wardrobes on wheels, plus a set of mourning clothes, just in case. Coded accessories are packed in mobile chests of drawers. The Royal Flagman sends royal standards on ahead while the Travelling Yeoman makes a test run, checking luggage will get through stairs and doors. He checks the quickest route from the airport to the place in which the Queen is staying. Royal luggage comes off the plane after the Queen has disembarked, but it must be waiting in her suite for her arrival. Once in Nigeria her hosts, anxious to keep her cool, turned up the air conditioning in her rooms so much that her clothes froze on their hangers.

Clothes are often brightly coloured so that HM stands out among the crowds. Hems often have weights sewn into them to guard against the wind. Simon Mirman hats are worn off the face and Edward Rayne's hand-made shoes must be comfortable for her walkabouts. Airline socks have come in handy for temple visits and wellies are taken for private walks. She needs no passport. After all, they are issued in her name.

The Queen favours Cyclax All Day Firming lotion to prevent her face shining in hot climates. For jet lag she takes homeopathic medicines and barley sugar. Crates of Malvern water help a stomach that has had to face banquet menu delicacies of roast bat, rat, blackbird, coral worms and barbecued turtle.

Royal work is never done and two trunks of dispatch boxes, nine briefcases and five boxes of personal stationery go on every trip. Presents for heads of states - for China there were12 boxes of them - are packed in special glass fibre cases which also carry back presentations to the Queen. Powder compacts, watches, photos are smaller thank-you gifts for maids or drivers. In her brief periods of relaxation, the Queen likes to unwind with crossword puzzles, magazines such as Horse and Hound, the Field or the Lady.

For Balmoral summer holidays she takes the latest Dick Francis presented by the author. Like Queen Victoria, she takes a monogrammed kettle with her and enjoys Earl Grey tea with fruit cake and shortbread from home. Harrods' pork sausages are also luggage listed. The Queen takes her own pillows, hotwater bottle, silver framed family photos, and favourite pine scented soaps and talcum powders.

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