Why do the royal family travel with black clothes in their suitcases?

The death of Queen Elizabeth II has set in motion a series of protocols since the moment of the announcement made by the royal family yesterday. It’s no secret that the royal dress code is strictly followed and that’s why Prince Harry arrived at Balmoral wearing black, just under two hours after his grandmother died.

Next, splash tells why the royal family always travels with black clothes in their bags, after an episode that took place 70 years ago.

Clothing is just one detail among the protocols, as everyone is prepared for the moment when a family member dies: it is necessary to have at least one black suit for each person on the trip.

This is explained because, for the royal family, every eventuality must be taken into account when they are on vacation or traveling, especially abroad, recalled the British tabloid The Daily Express in October 2021.

Therefore, black clothing can be used if there is a last-minute funeral for the royals to attend or if they need to be “mourning”, as the Marie Claire website wrote. The latter case refers to when a family member dies and the return to the UK is made immediately.

Although the chance of both events occurring is very low – they need to go to a funeral while traveling or return to the UK for the death of a family member -, the rule only exists due to an episode that occurred with Queen Elizabeth II herself, when she was still was princess.

1 - Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images - Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Elizabeth arrives in London after changing clothes on the plane the day after the death of her father, King George VI.

Image: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

What happened

Elizabeth was on a trip to Kenya in February 1952 with Prince Philip — she would visit the country and Australia — when she learned from her father that her father King George IV had died and that she would be crowned queen.

She didn’t have any black garments or dresses in her suitcase, which could cause some embarrassment with her arrival in the nation without being suited to the gloomy and mourning mood that hovered over her subjects, as her arrival would be widely followed by the press and photographers. .

As the royal family’s grieving process is not done in privacy, once the plane landed in London, Elizabeth had to wait for an aide and royal official to hand her a black outfit for her to wear, demonstrating her grief. She changed her clothes on the aircraft and only then went down the stairs of the plane.

British Harpers Bazzar recalled in 2017 that this moment of her learning of her father’s death and having to wait on the plane for an appropriate outfit to set foot on the ground is portrayed in the Netflix series “The Crown”.

Because of this, the monarch demanded and insisted that everyone be ready when the worst happened at any time, to avoid these mishaps, always a mandatory item in the luggage the presence of black clothes.

1 - Reproduction/Twitter Royal Family - Reproduction/Twitter Royal Family

Queen Elizabeth II and part of the royal family in celebration of her platinum jubilee this June

Image: Reproduction/Twitter Royal Family

extreme care

Most likely, this rule will continue to be maintained, as well as many others, such as travel by direct heirs on the same plane that are prohibited, with the exception of royal authorization.

According to the Express, direct heirs to the throne consider their own deaths in travel, following protocols that span generations.

The tabloid points out that the very ban on flying together without permission must have come about when air travel became more popular for getting around and was driven by concerns about plane crashes.

In fact, when traveling the royals travel with some of the best medical professionals available, bringing their own supplies of high-tech medical equipment (like a mobile defibrillator) and even their own blood.

According to royal reporter Gordon Rayner, who has traveled with his family 20 times, they always have a Royal Navy doctor available on trips. He is responsible for knowing everything about the destination in the event of an emergency, such as the location of the nearest hospitals in all points of the place they are.

“[O médico geralmente carrega] a bulky medical bag containing a mobile defibrillator and all kinds of emergency medicine,” the reporter said, according to Express.

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