The Queen has long enjoyed holidays at Scotland’s Balmoral Castle, which is more than 800km from her main residence in London and is one of her favourite places to spend her time.
Balmoral is privately owned by the Queen and used as a holiday home at the end of every summer by her and senior members of the royal family.
The castle is set on 20,000 hectares, 80km from Aberdeen near the village of Craithie.
It was built in 1852 by Queen Victoria and her husband Albert to accommodate their growing army of staff as well as countless visitors, including politicians.
Balmoral has been renovated several times by royals over the years but carries lasting memories of departed family members, including Prince Philip, who used the grounds to show off his gardening.
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One of the Duke of Edinburgh’s favourite features was a stunning water garden that remains on the property.
For the first time this week, the Queen appointed a Prime Minister at Balmoral, welcoming Boris Johnson’s replacement Liz Truss.
The decision by her to formally receive a Prime Minister in Scotland, rather than at Buckingham Palace, was made due to her ailing health and one of the first recent signs her majesty’s condition was seriously deteriorating.
While little is known about what exactly goes on in the sprawling grounds of Balmoral, a few notable visitors and members of the royal family have offered fascinating insights into the Queen’s annual holiday.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie were invited to stay with the royals at Balmoral. Mr Blair told how, during the 1998 visit, Prince Philip manned the barbecue and the Queen even get stuck into the dishes after dinner.
“You think I’m joking, but I’m not. They put the gloves on and stick their hands in the sink. The Queen asks if you’ve finished, she stacks the plates up and goes off to the sink,” he told in his autobiography.
The Queen once described Balmoral as her “paradise in the highlands”.
Princess Eugenie has also spoken fondly about the Queen’s holiday home, describing it as “the most beautiful place in the world”.
“I think Granny is the most happy there. I think she really, really loves the Highlands,” she said.
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