When does the Queen go to Balmoral and what do the royals do when they're in Scotland?
12 August 2019, 11:31 | Updated: 12 August 2019, 11:36
Each year, Her Majesty takes a train up to her Scottish retreat, Balmoral. Here's when she'll be heading up this year - and what she does when she's there.
Since Prince Albert bought the Scottish retreat in 1852 for £32,000 (around £4million by today's standards), members of the royal family have taken advantage of the beautiful holiday home in the Highlands.
The Queen and Prince Philip arrived at Balmoral in July this year, and have since been spotted attending church with other family members.
Her Majesty has had guests visit the estate this summer already, including Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson.
Most recently, the Queen was pictured on the way to church with Andrew, as well as Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and Princess Beatrice.
From traditions to the history of Balmoral, here's everything you need to know:
Where is Balmoral?
Balmoral castle is located in the Scottish Highlands, in Aberdeenshire.
Nestled between Ballater and Braemar, the royal residence expands over 50,000 acres and was once described by Princess Eugenie as "the most beautiful place on earth."
When is the Queen visiting Balmoral this year?
According to royal expert Katie Nicholl, the Queen was keen to swear in new Prime Minister Boris Johnson as soon as possible, as Her Majesty had already postponed her annual trip to Balmoral as a result of political upheaval.
Speaking on Lorraine, Nicholl said: “She goes up to Aberdeenshire every summer and she basically takes off from the middle of July until October, when she starts royal duties again.
“But she has had to postpone it.
“She was meant to go at the weekend but of course we have a new Prime Minister who’s going to be announced and will need to meet the Queen.
“And as soon as that meeting has taken place she will then head off to Scotland and enjoy a holiday will all of her family.
“The Queen is at her most relaxed when she’s at Balmoral - it’s her favourite of the royal residences.”
What do the Queen and members of the royal family get up to when they're in Scotland?
Said to be the Queen's favourite royal residence, the monarch has no official duties while she's there.
Having said that, Her Majesty attends the Braemar Gathering each year, where she goes shooting and watches a spot of caber tossing.
Ahead of the Queen's arrival, the home is inspected by a guard of honour from the Royal Highland Fusiliers, who protect the Queen while she's at Balmoral.
It is said Liz also inspects the lunches served to the regiments, to ensure they receive a hearty meal. Any packed lunches that don't cut the mustard are sent back.
Following in the footsteps of Queen Victoria, HM is also said to have a bagpiper play outside her bedroom window every morning at 9am. She has the same protocol for when she's at home in Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Holyroodhouse - but not at Sandringham, as there's not enough room for the bagpiper to stay, apparently.
As well as packing her tweed, Queen Elizabeth II always brings her knighting sword to Balmoral - because you never know when you're going to have to honour someone.
The royal family are prone to firing up the barbecue, too, with Prince Philip famously brandishing a pair of tongs.
What other holiday homes does the Queen own?
The Queen also has the following holiday properties:
- Craigowan Lodge, Balmoral Estate, Scotland
- Brickhall, Balmoral Estate, Scotland
- Castle of Mey, Caithness, Scotland
- Llwynywermod, Llandovery, Wales
- Sandringham House, Norfolk, England