A documentary on The Queen takes a revealing look at her family and love of travel.
The Queen has clocked up an incredible number of kilometres as Head of the Commonwealth. James Rampton reports on a new TV series that documents her travels and features some of the younger members of the royal family.
The Queen does not own a passport. As the British travel document is issued in her name, the monarch does not require one.
But that has never prevented her from travelling. In fact, quite the opposite. Queen Elizabeth II can lay a convincing claim to being the best travelled person in history.
Over her 92 years, she has flown the equivalent of 42 times around the globe − 1,661,668km, to be precise – and visited 117 countries.
The British monarch has now stopped travelling abroad. But some of her most famous overseas trips are recalled in Queen Of The World, a new two-part documentary on TVNZ 1.
This British series underscores her role as a major player on the world stage. It also shows how she is passing on her expertise to younger generations of the royal family as they keep developing connections with the Commonwealth.
Shot over more than a year by the makers of Our Queen At 90 and Diana, Our Mother: Her Life And Legacy, the series enjoys privileged access to The Queen, her family, her staff and her residences.
It demonstrates what a lifelong passion the Commonwealth has been for the monarch.
Queen Of The World includes behind-the-scenes moments with the sovereign and other members of the royal family, including the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the Princess Royal, and the Countess of Wessex. It revisits Meghan Markel’s wedding dress and looks at Prince Harry as he prepares for his tour of New Zealand and Australia.
Using footage from The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s private
film archives and treasures of the Royal Collection, the series also showcases the Queen’s early years as Head of the Commonwealth.
The Queen’s devotion to the Commonwealth was clear from the outset.
In Cape Town on her 21st birthday in 1947, the then Princess Elizabeth said that she would dedicate her whole life “whether it be long or short” to the service of the Commonwealth.
Five years later, soon after her coronation at Westminster Abbey, Elizabeth backed that up by embarking on a six-month tour with the Duke of Edinburgh that featured 12 Commonwealth countries.
That year, her Christmas broadcast was taped in Auckland. Her Majesty announced to the world that, “I set out on this journey in order to see as much as possible of the people and countries of the Commonwealth and Empire. I want to show that the Crown is not merely an abstract symbol of our unity, but a personal and living bond between you and me.”
The monarch has been to most Commonwealth countries but has not visited Cameroon and Rwanda – both of which became members in more recent years (1995 and 2009).
Jo Clinton-Davis, the executive producer, explains the significance of Queen Of The World.
“The Queen is a unique figure on the world stage, with a huge depth of experience, having met more global leaders than any previous British monarch and serving longer than all of them. “This film is a rare opportunity to see Her Majesty up close and behind the scenes in this role, which means so much to her and has been so significant for Britain and the Commonwealth.” Nicolas Kent, co-executive producer of Queen Of The World, says, “The Queen is the most well-travelled monarch in history and it’s been fascinating to see how she has passed on her experience to the younger generations of the royal family.” Charles Anson, who went with the Queen on her tours abroad as her Press Secretary during the 1990s, reflects on why her travels have meant so much to her. “I always felt the Queen enjoys travel because she is genuinely curious about people, their different cultures, traditions and quirks.” But her tours were never solely about meeting world leaders. They were also about encountering people from all walks of life. She always realised the importance of making a direct connection with people. As the Queen herself once put it: “I have to be seen to be believed.”
From top left: Meghan, Duchess Of Sussex; Prince Harry, Duke Of Sussex; Camilla, Duchess Of Cornwall and Charles, Prince Of Wales.