Saturday, 15 October 2011

The Queen's Table - 19

The favourite mode of transport for the Queen on her trips to and from Balmoral Castle is the Royal Train. Here we see her private bedroom on the train.

Where appropriate, The Queen and other members of the Royal Family use scheduled train services for their official journeys.

In addition, the Royal Train is used by The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales on longer journeys around the UK.

The Royal Train enables members of the Royal Family to travel overnight and at times when the weather is too bad to fly, and to work and hold meetings during lengthy journeys. It has modern office and communications facilities.

Journeys on the train are always organised so as not to interfere with scheduled services.

Prior to 1966, the Queen was able to travel as far as Ballater Station - just a few miles from Balmoral, but with the closure of the line the Queen now usually travels to Aberdeen and then travels by road to Balmoral.

Catering on the train is handled by the Rail Gourmet company. The meals are of superlative quality, even if comparatively simple by Palace standards, and the Queen has been served by the same senior railway steward, Ken Moule, for more than 20 years.

If the Queen wants afternoon tea with toasted teacake or an aperitif (her favourite is one-third gin, two thirds Dubonnet and lots of ice), if the Duke of Edinburgh wants a glass of Tetley's beer, or kippers for breakfast, or the Prince of Wales asks for a Welsh rarebit made with his own organic cheese, the team will respond.

On a night-time departure, the Queen is offered light refreshments of smoked salmon, warm sausage rolls and chicken or egg sandwiches made with brown and white bread - all with the crusts removed.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are woken at 7.30am with the 'calling trays': Earl Grey tea for Her Majesty, with no sugar; coffee for His Royal Highness as he drinks only tea in the afternoon.

The Queen must get an awful shock when the train arrives back at King's Cross station in London!

From next Monday we shall try and relive the arrival and departure of Queen Victoria at Ballater Station during the latter years of the nineteenth century.

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