Sign up for the TODAY newsletter

You have successfully subscribed to the TODAY newsletter.

Subscribe now and get trending stories, celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.

See the lavish trains British royals have used through the years

They're essentially palaces on wheels.
by Julie Pennell /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter

The British family’s royal trains have gotten monarchs to the places they need to be in style through the years.

On a recent overnight trip with Queen Elizabeth, the Duchess of Sussex got to experience her first royal train ride.

Royal train
Queen Elizabeth II and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, arrive by royal train at Runcorn Station to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14. Peter Byrne / Getty Images

The current train includes a dining car that seats up to 12 people, a kitchen and sleeping accommodations.

Sustainable living initiative START
The dining room aboard the royal trainDanny Lawson / Getty Images

There’s even a working office for the queen to get things done while she’s traveling. According to Anthony Coulls, senior curator of rail transport and technology at the National Railway Museum in the U.K., it even has its own letter box with a unique post mark.

Prince Charles Of Wales Visits Glasgow
The office on the royal trainDanny Lawson / Getty Images

“(The train) is used between 10-20 times a year by the queen and Prince Charles, who very much enjoys rail travel,” Coulls told TODAY Home.

It seems members of the royal family have long loved using trains to get around. The first royal to travel by train was Queen Adelaide in 1840. “Her carriage is in the museum and not much more than a couple of stage coaches on a single underframe,” Coulls said.

Royal trains
Queen Adelaide's trainNational Railway Museum UK

But Queen Victoria, who traveled by train for the first time the following year, had specially designed carriages that were decorated with plush tufted furniture, rich blue curtains and elaborate light fixtures.

Royal trains
The lavish interior of Queen Victoria's trainNational Railway Museum UK

She knew exactly what she wanted, both in terms of decor and usage. Since she preferred to use the restroom at the stations, many built grand toilets just in case she stopped by.

Coulls also shared that Queen Victoria, who made more than 100 rail journeys during her reign, insisted that the train travel at 40 mph in the day and 30 mph at night.

Royal trains
Queen Victoria's trainNational Railway Museum UK

She also didn’t eat while it was moving. “She would either stop and have a meal in a station, where a hastily fitted screen might separate her from other passengers, or the train would stop at a station and food be passed through the window in a hamper,” he explained. “All trains around her would stop until they were back on the move again.”

Queen Elizabeth II’s first train was actually the one Queen Mary used. Coulls described it as a small Royal residence inside with "quality furnishings, nice fittings and furniture and everything you would want."

Royal trains
Queen Mary's trainNational Railway Museum UK

“The carriage only came out of service as it was unable to travel fast enough to keep up with the high speed railways of the UK in the 1970s,” he said.

If you happen to be in London anytime soon, you can check out the Royal Carriages exhibition at the Railway Museum, open daily. Visit the website to find out more information.

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
MORE FROM today