The Braemar Gathering took place yesterday, a staple in the Royal calendar. These Highland Games took place in the presence of The Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Princess Anne, who seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves.
Braemar takes place on Royal Deeside on the first Saturday of each September, and it is one thing that brings Her Majesty outside of Balmoral. The Gathering is the pinnacle of the Highland Games, during which highland dances, tossing the caber, piping, relay races, sack racing, putting the stone, hammer throwing, sprinting, hill racing, and tugs of war all take place in the presence of the reigning Monarch.
The first Braemar Gathering was organised in 1815 by the Braemar Wright Society, the predecessor of the current organisers. An entry fee of 10 shillings (50p) was required to enter then. One of the most peculiar events is watching current Drum Majors hurling their mace over a tall beam, and the winner is the one who hurls it the highest.
This year The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales (referred to as The Duke of Rothesay in Scotland), and The Princess Royal and her husband, Sir Tim Laurence attended. The family event never fails to rouse a few laughs from the Sovereign and her family, who usually don tartan. Philip, Charles and Anne attended in their Scottish finery.
Last year, Her Majesty was joined by her grandson, Peter Phillips, and his wife, Autumn, and it seems to be on something of a rotation for members of the Royal Family. Charles and Philip are the expected guests alongside The Queen.
Such an event showcases the strong bonds between the Crown and Scottish people. Elizabeth II is patron of the games, and she continues to wear the Braemar feather brooch to the games each year. She was given the piece by the organisation back in 2002 for her Golden Jubilee.
Each year the event aims to raise money for a particular cause, this year that cause was to raise funds for those affected by the River Dee bursting its banks in December. Prince Charles lost The Queen Mother’s gardens at Birkhall in the flooding too; he was said to be devastated.
Jim Wood, Secretary of the Braemar Royal Highland Society, who has organised the Braemar Gathering for his first time this year, said to the BBC that the game were a ‘great spectacle, known the world over‘. Over 17,000 spectators came to the event this year from right around the world, including New Zealand, Australia, southern Africa, Brittany in France, and Nova Scotia in Canada.