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On the trail of the world's most travelled woman

Posted in DESTINATIONS By Maggie O' Sullivan

Author unknown - from SAR&H photo journal - Ian Pretorious collectionDespite the fact that HM The Queen doesn’t really do holidays, she is one of the world’s most travelled women (pictured here in South Africa in 1947 with Princess Margaret). In a recent television interview, Prince Harry claimed there was nowhere on the planet his grandmother hadn't been. Which destinations does she like most? Her lips remain diplomatically sealed, but to celebrate her 90th birthday today, here are five destinations which clearly do have the royal stamp of approval.The Phoenicia at night, MaltaMalta

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip lived in Malta between 1949 and 1951, a time she has described as ‘the happiest days of my life’. In those days Malta’s most glamorous hotel was The Phoenicia. The Princess was a frequent visitor and apparently perfected her Samba in its ballroom. The hotel’s glamour faded with the passing decades, but the exciting news is that it is currently undergoing a multi-million pound facelift and when The Phoenicia reopens in mid-June it will be managed by CampbellGray Hotels. The group is run by hotelier Gordon Campbell Gray. He was responsible for London’s One Aldwych and Carlisle Bay in Antigua and now runs the super-chic Le Gray in Beirut, so The Pheonicia is bound to be fabulous. From €400 per night.Jetty, Aman VeniceVenice

The Queen has been to Italy many times and is said be rather partial. On her first visit in 1951 she stayed at the British Embassy in Rome; on subsequent trips she and Prince Philip stayed on the Royal Yacht Britannia. In 1961 the couple took a moonlit gondola ride along the Grand Canal and if they were to return to La Serenissima today, we think they might enjoy a night at the new Aman Venice, set in a sumptuious 16th-century palazzo on the Grand Canal. Perhaps the Sansovino Stanza suite, featuring a 16th-century fireplace designed by the Italian sculptor and architect as well as wood panelling and a carved ceiling. It’s certainly fit for a queen – all it needs is an actual queen. Contact hotel for price details.Hayes & Jarvis Mount Kenya & Masai Mara AdventureKenya

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip were in Kenya when her father, King George VI, died in 1952. Legend has it that she learned of his death at a lodge called Treetops, though it’s more likely Prince Philip didn’t break the news until after they had left, leaving the future Queen with happy memories of Treetops and promising to return. She never did, but the lodge is still there and long-haul specialist Hayes and Jarvis includes one night at Treetops in its five-night Mount Kenya & Masai Mara Adventure. Other stops on the itinerary are one night in Nairobi, one night at the Lake Nakuru Lodge on Lake Nakuru, and two nights at the Keekorok Lodge in the Masai Mara. From £1,399 per person, including return international flights from London Gatwick.Royal Suite, Waldorf Astoria New YorkNew York

New Yorkers were disappointed to learn last year that the Queen had not bought a condo in the Big Apple, as had been reported, but she has made several state visits over the years. Her first was in 1957 when she and Prince Philip stayed at the Waldorf Astoria. They were booked into the Presidential Suite but due to a mix-up (it can happen to anyone), the suite was not available so a new Royal Suite, occupying the entire top floor of the building, was created (which only happens to royalty). The Royal Suite is still there, part of the hotel’s Towers Penhouse Series. From $2,500 a night. Fairmont Royal York, TorontoToronto

The Queen has visited Canada more than 25 times and toured every province and territory in the country. In Toronto – which she first visited in 1951 – she always stays at the Fairmont Royal York. She takes the luxurious Royal Suite on the 16th floor, served by its own elevator, while an entire floor is blocked off for her entourage. The hotel is proud of its royal connection and there are several portraits of the Queen and Prince Philip in the hotel lobby. From CAD$1,275 per night.

BY MAGGIE O'SULLIVAN

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