The British royal family is always jet-setting around the globe for official engagements, but every so often, they get to travel just for fun. Some choose to stay closer to home, visiting places like Scotland, while others prefer more exotic locales and luxe destinations. We're giving you a peek into the royals' most beloved vacation spots, starting with Botswana. The African country holds a very special place in Prince Harry's heart. He's holidayed in the country for years, previously celebrating his 21st birthday on the Kubu Queen luxury double-decker houseboat in Okavango Delta, Botswana. The country is also where Harry took wife Duchess Meghan for their first out-of-town getaway. "I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana," he said during their engagement interview. "And we camped out with each other under the stars, we spent — she came and joined me for five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic." The couple also celebrated Meghan's 36th birthday in the country just a few months before their 2017 engagement, and Meghan's engagement ring features a diamond sourced from Botswana. Keep reading for more royal holiday hotspots…
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The royal family is known for taking fun family ski trips to Switzerland. But Princess Diana's favorite skiing spot was actually in Lech, Austria. The Princess of Wales reportedly preferred the Arlberg Hotel in Lech and would often spend her holidays there. Today, photos of Princess Di hang in the lobby of the ski resort as a tribute to the late royal.
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When Prince William and his family travel, they travel in style. William, Duchess Kate, Prince George and Princess Charlotte reportedly stayed at the Hotel du Palais in France during a summer holiday in 2016. Built in 1855, the luxury seafront hotel has a rich history and oozes elegance with its gilded furniture, marble floors, sauna and spa.
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Back in his bachelor days, Prince Harry used to love partying in Sin City. Our favorite ginger royal famously enjoyed staying in one of the Wynn Las Vegas resort's Encore Tower suites, which has a private elevator, butler service, a massage table and mohair-padded walls that absorb sound. Harry was famously photographed playing a strip billiards game in his suite in 2012.
When Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla decided to celebrate his 65th birthday in India in 2013, they chose to stay at the Kumarakom Lake Resort in Kerala. The hotel features stunning villas right on the water with outdoor bathrooms set inside private courtyards. Kumarakom was named India's leading green resort by the World Travel Awards for four consecutive years — perfect for an environmentalist like Charles.
Princess Anne's daughter, Zara Tindall, and her husband, retired rugby player Mike Tindall, enjoyed a lavish vacation in Bali in 2015. The couple stayed at the Karma Kandara Hotel, a cliffside resort with luxury villas featuring tropical courtyards and private pools. Mike later called the holiday trip the most relaxing one he'd ever experienced. "The whole setup there is designed to inspire relaxation, and I did very little during my stay," he told the Telegraph.
Prince William has a special relationship with the African continent, similar to his brother, Prince Harry. The heir to the throne is specifically connected to Kenya, where he's worked and vacationed over the years. In fact, William proposed to Duchess Kate at the Rutundu Lodge in Mount Kenya. The property features two wooden cottages, open log fires and breathtaking views of the mountains and wildlife. "I'd been planning it for a while but as every guy out there will know, it takes a certain amount of motivation to get yourself going," William said during his official 2010 engagement interview. "So I was planning it and then it just felt really right out in Africa. It was beautiful at the time. I just … I had done a little bit of planning to show my romantic side."
When Prince William and Duchess Kate are ready to escape the often dreary weather in England, they jet off to Mustique in the British Virgin Islands. Kate's family, the Middletons, have a regular rental at the Villa Aurora where Will and Kate have spent many a holiday. The contemporary colonial-style property features separate cottages around a central pool as well as a plunge pool on a wrap-around veranda.
Unlike her globetrotting children and grandchildren, Queen Elizabeth II prefers to spend holidays closer to home. The monarch vacations at Balmoral Castle in Scotland every summer, a tradition that started decades ago (Elizabeth, husband Prince Philip and their three older kids, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Charles, are pictured here at the castle in 1960). In the documentary "The Queen at Ninety," Princess Eugenie revealed that Balmoral is the "most beautiful place in the world" and "Granny is the most happy there. I think she really, really loves the Highlands."
Klosters, Switzerland, has been a preferred royal family destination for decades. The Swiss village houses Princes Charles's favorite ski resort, Hotel Walserhof. The future king and his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, have made many memories at the luxury retreat, which is where the boys learned to ski and where William first publicly revealed his relationship with university classmate Kate Middleton when they were spotted kissing on the slopes. Charles loves the ski resort so much that one cable car to the top of Gotschnagrat Mountain is named the "Prince of Wales."
Prince Andrew and former wife Sarah, Duchess of York, have been enjoying ski vacations in Verbier, Switzerland, since their daughters, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, were little. The friendly exes continued to holiday there even after their 1996 divorce and in 2015, they co-purchased a luxury chalet there valued at $19 million. The Swiss resort town — which is also a favorite of Prince William's (remember his 2017 dad-dancing scandal?) — is where Eugenie met husband Jack Brooksbank in 2010 while both were on vacation.
Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry have made the French Riviera one of their go-to vacation spots. The royal couple reportedly spent their 2017 New Year's holiday in Monaco, where they spent some quality time with fellow royals Prince Albert and Princess Charlene. Harry and Meghan are also rumored to have returned to Monaco for a New Year's babymoon in 2018.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chose to spend their honeymoon at the beautiful private island resort of North Island in the Seychelles. Duchess Kate and Prince William stayed in absolute luxury in a private villa on the beach featuring floor-to ceiling windows, a four-poster bed, sunken baths, a private chef and a spa that opens whenever a guest wants to use it.
When Princess Diana wanted to get away from it all, she stayed at her friend Richard Branson's Great House in Necker, British Virgin Islands. The Virgin Group founder loaned the property — which features two infinity pools, a swim-up bar, a hot tub, a personal chef, eight guest bedrooms and a 1,500-square-foot master suite with panoramic views of the Caribbean — to Diana for family vacations. Years later, her son, Prince Harry, vacationed there with Richard's children, Holly and Sam.
If you're a royals fan, you know that the British royal family spends the Christmas holiday at the queen's Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England, every year. Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip and all their children, grandchildren and their spouses — plus great-grandchildren — gather to celebrate at the monarch's private estate that she inherited from her father, King George VI, in 1952.
Back in the 1940s, Queen Elizabeth used to vacation with her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother), and sister Princess Margaret at Hillsborough Castle in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Today, the estate — which includes 100 acres of gardens, meadows and trimmed lawns — is now the official Northern Ireland residence of the queen.