If you’re in the mood for a romantic getaway with your significant other this Valentine’s month, take a tip from the royals’ little black book of places to drop off the radar.

There can be no better guarantee of utter seclusion and first-class everything – plus your own chef, butler, pool, big fancy bath, monarch-sized bed and views worth a king’s ransom.

Traditionally, until the Queen sold it off, Britain’s sovereign heirs honeymooned on the Royal Yacht Britannia to escape prying telephoto lenses although it had a cursed reputation. Four royal couples who launched their married life aboard have since divorced. Loved-up younger royals have been expanding their horizons and today the world is their oyster.

They can Google up a host of regal resorts and castaway private islands set up with MI6-level security (although it doesn’t always work). Better still, we ordinary folk can follow in their sandy footprints. Feast your eyes on six love nests you can book online that have received right royal approval.

WHO: Princess Eugenie & Jack Brooksbank

WHERE: Calala Island, Nicaragua

WHAT: 2018 engagement tryst

HIGHLIGHTS: Caribbean sunsets on a castaway atoll made for canoodling.

After seven years of dating, Eugenie’s Prince Charming – in royal terms, a commoner – came up with the goods on bended knee while the pair were staying offshore at this private couples-only island in the Pearl Cays.

Jack Brookbanks chose Lake Nicaragua at sunset to sweep Eugenie off her feet while romancing her on ultra-exclusive Calala Island, reserved for four courting couples at a time. (History doesn’t reveal whether Brooksbank booked the whole island but he could probably run to it.)

The starry-eyed pair celebrated their betrothal in one of the four idyllic beach suites, spied on only by hummingbirds and Hawksbill turtles. Brooksbank wooed his princess with Michelin-star dining, tropical fruit cocktails and moonlit lagoon swims. With a helipad on hand, it was a cinch to whisk her off to the mainland for that surprise lakeside proposal and back for a candlelit supper.

“The lake was so beautiful. I actually said, ‘This is an incredible moment,’ and then he popped the question,” gushed a glowing Princess of York, flashing a large sapphire ring after Buckingham Palace announced their engagement. “Granny’s very happy.”


WHO: Prince William & Kate Middleton

WHERE: North Island, The Seychelles

WHAT: 2011 honeymoon

HIGHLIGHTS: Secret beach house in an Indian Ocean Eden

It’s not hard to see what lured these royal lovebirds to this €6.500-a-night Robinson Crusoe island where coconut palms sway above 50 shades of blue ocean.

Diving for manta rays, private beach picnics and sunset lobster Creole cruises are among the memories to treasure from a stay in this old pirate’s hideaway. The eco-minded couple were also attracted by the resort’s National Geographic World Legacy Award and eager to meet the giant tortoises recently reintroduced on the island.

With 10 Presidential Villas submerged in jungle at one end of the resort – perfect for the security entourage – Wills and Kate could retreat via a concealed bridge to secluded Villa 11, cupped among granite boulders on the edge of a turquoise bay. A beach shack of palatial proportion with more tiers than a wedding cake, the honeymooners could wallow in a decadent sunken tub in a treehouse bathroom and sip cocktails on the pool deck with a hot running butler on call.

However every Eden has its serpent and despite the world media’s promise to keep out, one photographer slipped past the coastguard patrols. A year later the future king and his wife were ‘surprised and upset’ to see themselves on the cover of an Australian magazine, Kate wet-haired in a teeny black and gold bikini, Wills in colourful board shorts, strolling hand-in-hand on the sand. You can’t have it all.


WHO: Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall

WHERE: Columbia Beach Resort, Cyprus

WHAT: 2011 honeymoon

HIGHLIGHTS: Sunrise yoga, a stellar spa and outdoor sports

Like ordinary mortals, Princess Ann’s equestrian daughter and England rugby player Mike Tindall picked their honeymoon hotel out of a holiday brochure. However the 169-suite Columbia Beach Resort is rather more luxurious than your average package deal.

Perched above peaceful Pissouri Bay, a discreet distance from the bright lights of Limassol, it’s a favourite cycling, horse riding and hiking centre so ideally suited to this sporty pair, and the lush oceanfront gardens are made for sunrise yoga.

The honeymooners stayed in an Eagles Nest suite, accessed by lift, enjoying raptor’s-eye views over the eastern Med. From this self-contained eyrie they could make their own morning Nespressos, soak in a marble bath filled with Molton Brown bubbles and zap through 31 TV channels from the king-sized bed.

Far from hiding out in their love nest, the newlyweds hobnobbed with the hoi polloi at the heavenly Hebe spa and joined the queue for the beach unrecognised at first. But the game was soon up and then the world knew what the pair had for breakfast – fruit and cereal for Zara, full English for Tindall, and they were always the last down. We even know Zara borrowed a pair of trainers from staff for her workout.

But despite the glare of flashlights, this down-to-earth couple were determined to enjoy themselves. They even signed a few autographs!


WHO: Peter and Autumn Philips

WHERE: Tuningi Safari Lodge, South Africa

WHAT: 2008 safarimoon

HIGHLIGHTS: Waterhole wow factor alongside Africa’s Big Five

Breakfast in the bush and G&Ts in an underground hide were among the treats in store for the Queen’s eldest grandchild (Zara’s big bro) and his Canadian bride on their African honeymoon. The couple spent four days at Afro-chic Tuningi Lodge enjoying VIP views of Madikwe Game Reserve’s liveliest ‘bush bar’, where Africa’s Big Five quench their thirst.

Six sumptuous suites for a max 16 guests come with bedroom and bathroom fireplaces to ward off the night chill, outdoor rock showers to wash off the heat and dust and wraparound terraces for sweeping vistas across the veldt.

At dusk, tables for two are dressed for dinner on a boma deck beside the waterhole for a David Attenborough experience à la carte. For those of a more nervous disposition, an underground hide with its own bar offers wild low-angle close-ups of elephant, lion and buffalo swaggering past the window.

Everyone else got close-ups too as the couple sold the rights to their honeymoon and wedding photos to Hello magazine for a reported £500,000. Bucks Palace rose above the press feeding frenzy stating, ‘We do not comment on behalf of members of the royal family who are not on the Civil List.’ But the Queen was not amused.


WHO: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

WHERE: Africa maybe

WHAT: 2018 honeymoon

HIGHLIGHTS: We can only guess

With its desolate desert of sand scattered with whale bones and wrecked ships, Namibia is not your typical nuptial getaway. But for a while the hauntingly beautiful Skeleton Coast was odds-on favourite for Harry and Meghan’s honeymoon destination and photographs of potential boudoirs were splashed all over the world press.

Surreal Shipwreck Lodge was one hot contender and the €900-a-night ecolodge in Skeleton Coast National Park would certainly have appealed to the couple’s adventurous nature. And with lions and elephants close by but nothing much else, there wouldn’t be too many paparazzi crawling through the dunes to snap them in the outdoor hot tub or snuggled up around the wood-burning stove at night, when an eerie bone-chilling fog drifts in from the ocean. Sister resort Hoanib Valley Camp was also hotly tipped for its luxurious tribal tents and remote location, with no one to spy on the couple’s game drives, nature walks and intimate dinners around the camp firepit.

But as we all know now, they didn’t go to Namibia. “The honeymoon destination changed a few times,” explained royal commentator Omid Scobie. “If a location leaks prior to travel, it compromises their safety on the trip.”

Instead, between Prince Charles’ 70th birthday and the Trooping of the Colour, the Duke and Duchess Of Sussex slipped away, who knows where, but Africa is a likely choice. Conflict-free Botswana diamonds twinkle in Meghan’s engagement ring and the continent has a firm place in the couples’ hearts.


WHO: Prince Felipe of Asturias & Letizia Ortiz

WHERE: Wakaya Club & Spa, Fiji,

WHAT: 2004 honeymoon

HIGHLIGHTS: South Pacific beaches and rainforest walks

The wedding of Spain’s crown prince to TV presenter Letizia Ortiz in Madrid’s spectacular Cathedral was watched by the world, as was part of their ‘honeymoon’ – sandwiched between a whirlwind official tour. The couple did Spain, Europe, America and the Far East, posing for so many pictures that by the time they washed up on Wakaya, the press had seen enough.

Only 14 couples can stay at a time in the island’s 10 thatched bure cabin suites and two palatial villas edging Fiji’s only marine reserve, a dazzling coral habitat for giant clams. Vale O – Fijian for House in the Clouds – is the royal suite, often listed as the South Pacific’s finest. It comes with a rock-rimmed pool and waterfall, floodlit tennis court, personal chef and chauffeur.

But Wakaya has changed since Spain’s new king and his bride stayed here. In 2016 it was devastated by one of the worst Tropical Storms in its history. Giant trees felled by the storm have been incorporated in the ravishing redesign.

Ever since their wedding, Spain’s prensa rosa has been speculating on the couples’ divorce. But it appears they set aside their differences late last year on a secret second honeymoon in Peru.