When Royals Take The Tube

By Alex Corey Last edited 29 months ago

Last Updated 26 January 2022

When Royals Take The Tube
"One shotguns front seat!" Queen Elizabeth II rides on the DLR in 1987. Image: TfL

Occasionally, in an effort to try and normalise themselves, the royals claim to be 'just like everyone else.' While typically we scoff at such a statement, there are moments when we're perhaps forced to take them seriously.

Queen Anne sometimes takes the tube. Image: Shutterstock

In 2020, Princess Anne was spotted riding a London Underground train; a 15-minute journey from Green Park (Buckingham Palace's local tube station) to St Paul's, to present an award. The Queen's only daughter even changed lines.

It begs the question: how often do the various royals actually find themselves on the tube, if at all? Let's take a look...

Has Queen Elizabeth II ever taken the tube?

Liz at the opening of the DLR in 1987. Image: TfL

Queen Elizabeth II had her first tube ride 1939, when she was just 13 — and not yet a queen — along with her governess Marion Crawford and sister Princess Margaret, boarding a third-class smoking carriage. Apparently they got chased by a ticket inspector.

On 7 March 1969, Elizabeth became the first British monarch to travel on the tube, when she opened the Victoria line of the London Underground. Following the ceremony, she took the new line from Oxford Circus to Victoria.

This would not be the Queen's last ride either. She traveled again on the tube in 2013 at Baker Street, to mark the 150th anniversary of the Underground. She also shotgunned the front seat of the DLR, when it opened in July 1987.

Prince Charles?

Image: TfL

10 years after his mother made history, Prince Charles opened the Jubilee line in 1979. Instead of riding on the train, he went and drove it instead — show off.

The next time Charles would publicly ride the train would be in 2013, when he and the Duchess of Cornwall caught the Metropolitan line at Farringdon station to King's Cross, stopping for a photo-op with the Harry Potter attraction Platform 9 ¾.

Prince Andrew and Prince Edward?

Prince Edward. Has he ever taken the tube? Image: Shutterstock

There is no public information regarding whether the Queen's other two children have ever taken the tube. So as far as anyone knows, they are not as daring as their older siblings. We certainly don't imagine Andrew has taken the tube lately...

Princess Diana?

Princess Di, see here not on public transport. Image: Shutterstock

According to her former bodyguard Ken Wharf, the People's Princess did use the People's Transport. She sometimes rode on London buses with her sons, and rode on the London Underground for outings, but not too often, due to heightened security risks. "She always saw these moments as major victories," remembers Wharf.

Prince William and Princess Kate?

If only they'd used it. Image: TfL

Prince William has never officially been spotted riding on a London Underground train, but as we've just learned, his mum took him and Harry on the tube to get a sense of normalcy — and for the fun of it, too.

Princess Kate, on the other hand, was spotted back in 2013 at Baker Street for the tube's 150th anniversary, alongside Queen Elizabeth II. We'll wager that Kate took the tube a few times before she became a princess, as well.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle?

Image: Shutterstock

Like his brother, we know Prince Harry used the tube a handful of times when he was younger, but there is no public evidence of him ever doing so as an adult. His wife, Meghan Markle, has never been spotted on the Underground either. Maybe now that the pair are no longer officially royals, we may see them swiping an Oyster for the first time...

Other living royals?

Image: Shutterstock

There is no record of any other living royals riding on the tube. So we can assume they will not be minding the gap any time soon.

What about Queen Victoria... did she ever venture on the tube?

Image: Royal Trust Collection

While the London Underground (or at least what came to be the London Underground) existed for almost 40 years before Victoria died, she never used it. However, she was the first monarch to travel by train, as she made her way from Slough to Paddington. She remarked in her journal later that the trip was "delightful and so quick." She'd have loved Crossrail, then.

The Queen unveils the name of the Elizabeth line, which as chance would have it, is the same name as hers. Image: TfL

We can only hope that the baby royals follow in Diana and Anne's footsteps — taking the tube to get from A to B, rather than just for the photo op.