Yesterday, The Queen moved into Balmoral Castle to begin her summer break – despite having arrived on the estate late last month.
Her Majesty has spent the past 11 nights at another house in the grounds of her Aberdeenshire retreat so that the castle could remain open to the public a little longer. The bill for the upkeep of the 1856 gothic-style castle is approximately £3 million per year. The Sovereign must pay for this herself, as it is a private residence and not a Royal Palace.
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) August 8, 2016
As tradition goes, The Queen had a special welcome by the Royal Regiment of Scotland and inspected the 2nd Battalion Royal Highland Fusiliers at Balmoral, in a smart white boucle dress and jacket. She was all smiles as she waved at the crowds who had gathered to welcome her north of the border.
The troops reside at the Victory Barracks in nearby Ballater, and provide guards for the duration of The Queen’s holiday.
Aberdeenshire, the county in which the Scottish retreat is located, is known as ‘Scotland’s Castle Country’, as there are more castles per acre than anywhere else in the UK.
Set in 50,000 acres, the Balmoral estate was bought by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who knocked down the original castle, and built a larger one.
Princess Eugenie once said: “It’s the most beautiful place on earth. I think Granny is the most happy there. I think she really, really loves the Highlands.”
Walking, hunting and picnicking all count amongst typical ‘Balmoral’ activities over the summer. We can expect to see The Queen and Prince Philip at the Braemar Gathering in early September, which were attended by Peter and Autumn Phillips last year.
During August, September and October the grounds, gardens and exhibitions are closed to the public as the Royal Family are in residence, but it is possible to visit from April until July. You can even holiday on the estate!