7 reasons why the Queen should visit Switzerland
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has only once made an official visit to Switzerland during her 64-year reign, way back in 1980. As she celebrates her 90th birthday, The Local feels it’s about time she paid the country a second visit. Here’s why.
1. She can stay with family
Sarah Ferguson may have been part of the cause of Liz’s famous ‘annus horribilis’, but the two are reportedly back on speaking terms now. So we’re sure Fergie would be only too pleased to put her ex mother-in-law up in the chalet she owns with her former husband Prince Andrew in the Valais resort of Verbier. She can also introduce the Queen to all the Swiss friends she’s made in her attempt to show the Swiss authorities she’s worthy of becoming a Swiss resident.
Fergie enjoys spending time in Verbier. Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP
2. Or follow in royal footsteps to Lausanne
The luxury five-star Royal Savoy Hotel in Lausanne would be an appropriate place to lay the royal head. Dating from 1909, it used to be a refuge for royalty and aristocrats around the world and for many years was the home in exile of the Spanish royal family. It reopened last year after five years of renovations costing 100 million francs. And if Her Majesty requires a spot of pampering, its new spa opens this spring.
The Royal Savoy. Photo: Swiss Tourism
3. She can get inspiration for a new national anthem
Switzerland’s national anthem used to be sung to the tune of Britain’s God Save the Queen, until they decided that was far too dreary and changed it to the current Swiss Psalm. If Her Majesty feels the same, perhaps she could follow Switzerland’s more recent lead and create a public contest to find a brand new anthem. Last year Werner Widmer triumphed in the televised final with his song snappily named (in its English translation) ‘Hoisted up there in the wind, our red and white flag’. Liz just needs to add blue.
Photo: Janek Skarzynski/AFP
4. She can check out her son’s favourite place
A favourite ski destination of Prince Charles and his sons William and Harry for many years, Davos Klosters in the canton of Graubünden offers “discreet luxury with understatement”, says the resort’s website. In summer, the nonagenarian can try paragliding, hiking or mountainbiking, or relax in the sauna and steam rooms of the Oh-la-la spa. Whilst out and about she may even spot the cable car on the Gotschna lift that’s named ‘Prince of Wales’ in her son’s honour.
Charles and his sons pose on a ski holiday in Klosters. Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP
5. She can go to the races
If the Queen visits next February, she would probably be keen to catch the 110th edition of White Turf, Switzerland's famous horse racing event that takes place on a frozen lake in St Moritz. But the keen horsewoman may like to help solve global warming first – at this year’s White Turf the first race had to be cancelled as mild weather had made the frozen lake a little less frozen than organizers would have liked.
White Turf is a Swiss tradition. Photo: Christof Sonderegger/Swiss Tourism
6. She’ll be welcomed by Switzerland’s corgi-lovers
Yes, Welsh Corgis are well... Welsh. But Switzerland is home to several keen breeders of the Queen’s favourite pooch. The Vom Ghei kennels have been breeding prize-winning dogs at her home in the canton of Aargau since 1988.
Photo: Timothy A Clary/AFP
7. She can speak a national language
The Queen’s French-language skills are well-known and well-honed after 64 years of greeting French dignitaries in their own language (our sister site The Local France assesses exactly how good she is at French). She may not fare so well the other side of the Swiss röstigraben, however as a recent survey found, knowledge of English is significantly higher in German-speaking cantons than in French- and Italian-speaking regions, so she'll be alright.