“Secrets of the Royal Train” (Watch online or on the PBS Video app.) uncovers the inside story of the most luxurious and exclusive locomotive in the history of the British Isles, from its lavish past as the “royal express of excess” to its role today as the royal family’s mobile home away from home. For over 150 years, from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II, it has been the monarchy’s favorite way to travel. But the private world behind its veiled carriages remained a mystery to all but a privileged few — until now.
This episode looks back at the Royal Train’s history, including a glimpse inside Queen Victoria’s luxurious railway cars commissioned in 1869. Resplendent with sumptuous satins, silks and 23-karat gold paint, Victoria’s train was outfitted with the latest modern conveniences, including the first-ever onboard toilet and electric lights.
The latest incarnation of the locomotive was presented to Queen Elizabeth for her Silver Jubilee in 1977. The Royal Train team offer unique insights into the tastes of the Queen, Prince Charles and the few select people allowed on board.
“Secrets of the Royal Flight” (Sunday, Nov. 22) lifts the curtain on five-star regal luxury at 30,000 feet and tells the story of a family who love to fly in style. From a young Queen jetting around the globe for the very first time to the next generation taking the Windsor brand worldwide, this episode uncovers how plane travel defines a family constantly on the move.
During her lifetime, Queen Elizabeth II has flown over one million air miles. “Secrets of the Royal Flight” traces her story in the air, from the dangerous beginnings of jet travel to the luxury of her own private jet. Exclusive revelations from the onboard team detail the secrets of imperial service, from wrangling corgis in the sky to preparing Her Majesty’s favorite aperitif. The episode also unveils stories, from managing the 12 tons of luggage Queen Elizabeth II took on her 44,000-mile Commonwealth tour in 1953, to landing with the body of a much-loved Princess Diana to an audience of over half a billion around the globe. In 1995, the government disbanded the Queen’s flight after investigating how much was spent on air travel. For public duties, the younger royals now travel commercially, sometimes slipping into rear seats under assumed names.
Above all, this is the story of how, once upon a time, the royal family traveled in a style truly fit for a Queen.