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David and Victoria (and family) take a punt

It was back to basics for the Beckham's this week. Seeking transportation around the city of Cambridge during a bank-holiday family outing on Monday, they eschewed the traditional tinted-glass Mercedes to carry them around the historic city incognito, safe from prying eyes, and opted for something much more lo-fi instead. Indeed the entire Beckham dynasty - including heirs, in-laws, and Victoria's sister Louise, were snapped gliding down the Cam on-board two traditional punting boats.

There was no trumpeter on the bow to announce the arrival of the famous family into the city. But nonetheless, once the word got out that they were there, their loving public rushed to the riverside to wave the family by. And given their standing as the unofficial King and Queen of Britain, it all seemed rather appropriate, watching them sit back and relax as they enjoyed this serene and leisurely mode of travel - propelled by nothing more than the physical effort of a hired manservant. One could certainly imagine Victoria getting used to it. Perhaps, after Cambridge, she might consider employing a couple of valets full-time to transport her from meeting to meeting by way of a Queen's Sedan Chair.

David, bless him, seemed more interested in getting stuck in to the action than taking his leisure. He wrote on social media afterwards that he had spent an "amazing day punting in Cambridge." And on his instagram account, he posted a photograph of himself having a punt, having bravely stood up on board to take charge of propelling the boat down the river. Of course, Victoria was no doubt keeping a careful eye on exactly where he was planting his pole, especially in front of the watching world. It's a treacherous business, after all - full of potential slip-ups and pitfalls. And as we all know, his highness has run into troubled waters exactly that way before.

Julia Molony

Sunday Independent