What it's like to hitch a ride with Prince Charles

A version of this story appeared in the December 3 edition of CNN's Royal News, a weekly dispatch bringing you the inside track on Britain's royal family. Sign up here.

London (CNN)Earlier this week, we wrote to you from Barbados during Prince Charles' whirlwind tour as the Caribbean island took its first steps as a republic.

We were one of several media outlets invited to join the heir to the throne's flight to Bridgetown to cover the celebrations marking the Queen's removal as head of state.
For the journey, the Prince of Wales flew on RAF Voyager -- an Airbus A330 owned by the UK for use on official overseas visits by members of the royal family and government ministers. Charles most recently hopped on board with wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall for their four-day trip to Jordan and Egypt.
    The UK owns several Voyager planes, which are normally used for air-to-air refueling and strategic air transport. However, one plane in the fleet was converted in 2016 for VIP transportation -- and this was our ride.
      Sometimes jokingly referred to as "Heir Force One," last year it received a £900,000 (nearly $1.2 million) makeover -- to repaint the plane from military gray to the colors of the Union flag (red, white and blue livery).
        The Airbus A330 was converted for VIP transportation in 2016.
        Inside it looks, well, pretty much like any other passenger aircraft. The refueling plane has been refitted with business class-type seats in the front and middle sections, and regular coach seats in the rear. Any traveling press sit in the back with military personnel who might also be on the flight.
        In line with pandemic protocols, face coverings are currently used onboard and social distancing was taken into consideration when assigning seats to passengers. And in case you're wondering what movies were on offer, you may be surprised to learn there aren't any in-flight entertainment options or screens in the back of headrests.
          The most frequent questions we're asked when people hear we've taken a ride on the plane tend to revolve around what the food is like. Sadly, the answer there is pretty boring: It's fairly similar to commercial flights, with a meat, fish or vegetarian option (though perhaps a little tastier than normal).
          Passengers can choose between meat, fish or vegetarian meals.
          Traveling within the royal bubble is always an interesting experience, though much of it is spent waiting for a security escort in and out of secure areas.
          For example, Voyager is home-based at RAF Brize Norton, an air force station in Oxfordshire. For security reasons, non-military personnel can't be left to wander the base freely, so journalists must gather and wait to be escorted in groups.
          The highlights of any trip with members of the royal family are those unscheduled, off-the-cuff moments in between the many engagements each day.
          The trip to Barbados was such a short visit that there was little downtime to catch Prince Charles, whose focus was firmly on joining officials for the republic celebrations and reaffirming the close relationship between the two countries.
          Charles was busy with engagements during the short visit.
          However, shortly after landing back in the UK on Wednesday morning, he did make a point of coming to chat with us for a few minutes.
          With little fanfare or forewarning, he strolled back as we were gathering our belongings to deplane, making sure to say hello to new members of the traveling press and thank the group for joining the tour. A simple gesture and one he doesn't have to make, but which goes a long way in maintaining a relationship with the media.
          Analysis: Meghan's latest victory in privacy battle matters.
          The Duchess of Sussex claimed another win Thursday in her protracted legal battle with Associated Newspapers Limited, publisher of the Mail on Sunday, over a letter she sent to her estranged father in 2018.
          Britain's Court of Appeal dismissed the publisher's challenge of a previous judgment that the duchess had a reasonable expectation of privacy when penning the letter.
          Moments after the judgment was delivered, Meghan released a strongly worded statement. She called the latest result "precedent setting" before outlining her hopes that it would help to change the UK newspaper industry.
          It was a bold endeavor by Meghan as, had the case gone to trial, it could have led to more revelations about how the royal household operates or set up a showdown in court against her dad. Instead, her case has once again shown that when newspapers go too far, there are legal avenues to pursue. And the rulings make it clear that while the members of the royal family are public figures, they don't have to live every aspect of their lives in the public domain.
          But don't expect this to be the last word on the matter. Following the judgment, ANL said it was considering an appeal to the UK's Supreme Court.
          Meghan's statement in full
          "This is a victory not just for me, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what's right. While this win is precedent setting, what matters most is that we are now collectively brave enough to reshape a tabloid industry that conditions people to be cruel, and profits from the lies and pain that they create.
          "From day one, I have treated this lawsuit as an important measure of right versus wrong. The defendant has treated it as a game with no rules. The longer they dra