Even staunch anti-royalists would find it hard not to admire the Queen. Now aged 92, she is our longest reigning monarch and, despite more of her workload being shared by other members of the Royal ‘firm’, she still attends an impressive number of engagements each year.
It would be impossible to calculate the number of hands she has shaken or buildings, roads, bridges, boats and stations that she has officially opened. Or even the number of bouquets of flowers she has accepted. She was presented with 161 bouquets at one function alone – in Australia in 1954.
One statistic about the Queen that has been calculated and that is the number of miles she has travelled. And, like the Queen herself, it is a truly impressive figure. That’s why the Daily Telegraph recently referred to her as the ‘million miles Queen’. The paper estimates that has travelled 1,032,513 miles and visited 117 countries (out of a possible 195, so a 60% ‘visit rate’).
To put that number into context, measured at the equator, the world has a circumference of 24,901.461 miles. It’s fair to say therefore that the Queen has lapped the globe forty times. And with the distance between the moon and the earth being 238,900 miles, she could have done two return trips there too.
As an ultra, ultra-long haul traveller, it’s worth noting what the Queen takes with her on these trips and what tips and hints she can offer us mere mortals who are considering taking a long haul trip of our own. Something she never does now but clearly has plenty of experience of.
Some of her ‘must haves’ – like taking her own sheets – are probably a stretch too far for us, what with the prices that airlines charge for baggage now, but some others are worth considering. These include: her own hot water bottle, a portable camera, a spare pair of white gloves, bottled water, and her favourite cake. In a sense, these few items sum up the Queen. Practical and pragmatic. Especially the favourite cake part. It saves one from getting hungry.