While they have travelled the world together, the Prince and Princess of Wales often prefer to spend their time off closer to home with their young family. One favourite destination is the Isles of Scilly, off the coast of Cornwall, where William can recreate happy memories of holidays spent there as a boy.
In the late 80s, he and his brother Prince Harry and their parents would head to the remote island of Tresco, where they would ride their bikes and go body-boarding and surfing off the beautiful white sandy beaches. Now he and Kate are continuing the tradition with their three children.
Over the years, William has also made several trips to the area with King Charles, taking an interest in the workings of the Duchy of Cornwall estate which he inherited after his father became King.
In 2016, while visiting projects in Cornwall and the Scillies, he and Kate were seen boarding a boat after a stroll round Tresco’s spectacular subtropical Abbey Garden.
During the pandemic in 2020, William took his family to Tresco for a summer break, staying at Dolphin House, a home yards from the sea that is owned by his father. They were seen cycling around the car-free island, smiling and chatting to residents and fellow holidaymakers. Showing how much the island means to them, they returned in October that year and again in 2021.
Royally Obsessed podcaster Roberta Fiorito says, “It’s hard for them to escape the spotlight, but they seem able to slip under the radar when taking these low-key holidays in places like the Isles of Scilly. They’re able to get away from it all there, which helps keep that sense of normality for them.”
Their weekend home, Anmer Hall in Norfolk, is another favourite retreat, and the family are often seen on the beach at Holkham, a 35-minute drive away, making sandcastles, snacking at the local tea shop or walking across the four miles of golden sand.
Another hideaway is Tam-Na-Ghar, a cottage on the Balmoral Estate in Scotland where William and Kate have spent some of their happiest times together. The secluded bolthole, given to them by the late Queen Mother, offered the perfect distraction from life at the University Of St Andrews and they have continued to visit ever since, taking the children in the summer of 2019.
While William has his own family memories to treasure, a special place for Kate is Jordan, in the Middle East. She lived there for two years from 1984 when she was two, while her father, Michael, worked for British Airways in Amman. She, William and the children visited in autumn 2021, and one of their holiday snaps taken in the ancient city of Petra featured on their Christmas card that year. Another shot was released on Instagram to celebrate Father’s Day in 2022.
Rachel Bowie, co-host of Gallery Media Group production Royally Obsessed, says, “Their trip to Jordan was a significant one because it was the time in the pandemic when everyone was getting the vaccine and able to travel again.”
Mustique is another destination the prince and princess hold dear. As well as being a holiday hotspot for the whole Middleton family, the tiny Caribbean island has hosted many royals and celebrities over the years and with its own no-fly zone, it offers total privacy.
In May 2006, William and Kate enjoyed sipping cocktails and watching magnificent sunsets there, and their romantic trip sparked speculation that a proposal could be on the cards. While on the island, they played volleyball on the beach and challenged islanders to a Frisbee match, while William even joined in with a rendition of Suspicious Minds by Elvis Presley.
In 2019, the couple returned to Mustique for two weeks, where they celebrated Prince George’s sixth birthday. They rented Villa Antilles, owned by a friend of William, and made the most of its mesmerising views towards the islands of Bequia and St Vincent, as well as its butler service and chef, famed for creating dishes like lobster escargot and fillet of beef with truffle mash.
Away from the sun, sea and sand, William and Kate are both accomplished skiers, and one of their first vacations together was to the Swiss resort of Klosters in 2004. It was there that the world witnessed their first public display of intimacy, when William pulled Kate towards him and kissed her on the lips – generating the inevitable “Kiss me Kate” headlines.
Fast forward more than a decade and in 2016 they took George and Princess Charlotte to Les Trois Vallées in the French Alps for their first skiing holiday.
Last year, little Prince Louis was able join in as the family stayed at a friend’s six-bedroom chalet within the luxurious Courchevel resort.
That trip was apparently instigated by little Prince George, with an insider revealing, “During the pandemic, George begged William to take him skiing once everything reopened and his dad made it happen.” While there, the two older children had private ski lessons and were also encouraged to practise their French.
Other adventures have seen William and Kate take in the remote Indian Ocean island of Rodrigues, where they spent their days snorkelling and scuba diving before hitting the beach bar.
William had experienced nearby Mauritius during his gap year in 2000 and was keen to share the barefoot experience with Kate four years later. The Indian Ocean was also their honeymoon choice in 2011, when they stayed at a £5,000-a-night resort on North Island in the Seychelles.
But the destination that may mean the most to them is Kenya, where William proposed. It was in October 2010 at a remote lodge near Lake Rutundu that Kate learnt she would one day be Queen, just as a young Elizabeth did in the same country in 1952. William presented his mother’s diamond and sapphire engagement ring to her after an afternoon’s fruitless fishing. To his relief, it fitted perfectly…
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