Hidden references to royalty on the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship



I spent five nights on the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship from Cunard in October.

Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth ship in Amsterdam.

Mikhaïla Friel / Insider

The British cruise line returned to sailing with a trip to Western Europe in October, its first trip to leave the UK since the pandemic.

As a journalist covering the British Royal Family, I was intrigued that the ship was named after Queen Elizabeth.

The Queen Elizabeth, launched in 2010, is the third Cunard ship to bear this name, according to its website. The original RMS Queen Elizabeth was in service from 1939 to 1968, and the Queen Elizabeth 2 was launched in 1969 and retired in 2008.

Queen Elizabeth II was present at all three baptismal ceremonies, the website says.

Cunard is known for its connection to royalty.

Queen Elizabeth II is seen at the Chichester Theater during a visit to West Sussex on November 30, 2017 in Chichester, United Kingdom.

Queen Elizabeth II.

Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images

The cruise line has been linked to royalty since 1934, when it named a ship after the Queen Mary, according to its website.

The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II, and Princess Diana have all visited Cunard ships over the years. Elizabeth II made history traveling on the Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1990, marking the first time a reigning monarch had sailed on a passenger ship on a commercial voyage, according to Cunard.

My interior cabin of $ 856 had several references to royalty.

mikhaila room cruise

My bedroom.

Mikhaïla Friel / Insider

My room had a king-size bed, a TV, a tea and coffee station, a

mini fridge
, a desk and two sets of drawers. It also contained several hidden references to royalty, most notably in the Cunard logo.

The pillows featured the Cunard logo, which features a crawling lion, wreath, and bay leaves.

mikhaila cruise room

A selfie in my cabin.

Mikhaïla Friel / Insider

The rampant lion was chosen “because of its association with the royal standards of the English and Scottish monarchs,” Cunard historian and former cruise line public relations manager Michael Gallagher previously told Insider.

The Royal Standard is a traditional banner with the royal coat of arms, usually displayed in the presence of royalty, according to the Royal Family website.

Gallagher said the rampant lion was also considered the king of the beasts, “which matched Cunard’s Atlantic supremacy.”

The hand soap, body lotion, and Quercus shampoo in my bathroom had the Royal Seal of Approval.

cunard cruise hand soap

Quercus hand soap.

Mikhaïla Friel / Insider

The maker of Quercus Penhaligon’s has a Royal Warrant, something that is provided to companies that provide goods or services to the Queen, the late Duke of Edinburgh or Prince Charles, according to the official Royal Warrant website.

I was able to enjoy one of the royal family’s favorite pastimes, afternoon tea.

selfie buffet cruise mikhaila

Afternoon tea at the Lido Buffet.

Mikhaïla Friel / Insider

The Lido buffet restaurant offered afternoon tea every day between 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. during my trip.

Afternoontea was first introduced to the UK in the 1840s as a private social event for women before dinner, according to Afternoontea.co.uk.

It was popularized by Queen Victoria, who was a “PR machine for it,” Prince Charles’ former butler, Grant Harrold, once told me.

“And as we know, when a royal starts something, it becomes fashionable,” Harrold said.

Afternoon tea usually consists of sandwiches, scones, pastries and cakes, all served at the buffet.

afternoon tea on cruise

Afternoon tea.

Mikhaïla Friel / Insider

Due to Cunard’s COVID restrictions, guests were served by a member of staff rather than serving themselves at the buffet.

I noticed people playing croquet, one of the Queen’s favorite sports.


People are playing croquet.

Mikhaïla Friel / Insider

Croquet is a sport of hitting wooden or plastic balls with a mallet through hoops.

Photos of the Queen and the late Prince Philip playing croquet together when they first met in 1939 were released by the Department of Defense earlier this year, The Mirror reports.

Princess Elizabeth at the time would have been 13 at the time, while Philip would have been 18.

There were more obvious references to the royal family, such as the Queens Hall.

mikhaila queen bedroom

Mikhaila in the queen’s room.

Mikhaïla Friel / Insider

The Queens Room is the largest ballroom at sea and “the ship’s social hub,” according to Cunard’s website.

When I was on the ship, the room was used to host social activities during the day, such as dance lessons, and in the evenings, guests were treated to live music and ballroom dancing.

I noticed this cabinet in one of the hallways, which showed some of the royal history of the cruise line.

royal cabinet of Cunard

The royal cabinet.

Mikhaïla Friel / Insider

The cabinet displayed black-and-white photos and newspaper clippings of the royal visits to Cunard.

It also featured Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation Book and King George VI’s Coronation Medals.

The cabinet posted this photo of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, showing Cunard’s long relationship with British royalty.

cunard photo

A photo of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

Mikhaïla Friel / Insider

The photo was dated December 28, 1949.

The caption read: “The Duke and Duchess of Windsor arrived on the Queen Elizabeth liner yesterday. They will stay in New York for a month and then head to the Duke’s ranch in Alberta, Canada.”



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