Visitors over the years have remarked how laid-back the Queen and Prince Philip are whilst they are there, even preparing “rocket fuel” strength cocktails. Princess Eugenie once said she believes the Queen is “the most happy” at the Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
Once there, Her Majesty and Prince Philip relax in a number of ways – including walking with their dogs and going on picnics.
Barbecues are also common, and Prince Philip tends to take over responsibility of the grilling.
Some activities are less laid-back; the royals are said to go hunting whilst holidaying on the estate.
Plus, the Queen is woken up every morning by a bagpiper who begins playing beneath her window.
There are also a number of things to organise. Her Majesty hosts the annual Ghillies’ Ball in the ballroom of Balmoral.
She also oversees the Braemar Gathering – a prestigious Highland Games event – though this won’t be the case this year, as the event has been cancelled due to the pandemic.
However, Tony Blair described the generally relaxed atmosphere in his autobiography.
The former Prime Minister said: “The Queen asks if you’ve finished, she stacks the plates up and goes off to the sink.” However, he also said weekends there were “utterly freaky.”
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It is said this is because the then-Queen was “struck” by the beauty of Scottish Highlands during a visit there.
The castle as it stands today is not the same one that stood when the last was first purchased, however.
The original one was demolished after Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, considered it to be “not large enough for the Royal Family,” according to BalmoralCastle.com.
A new one, built by the City Architect of Aberdeen William Smith, was erected just 100 yards away.
Around four years later, Balmoral Castle as it stands today was completed – though some improvements have been made over the years.
The old building was then demolished and commemorative stone placed down.
The entire Balmoral estate includes much more than just the castle, however.
The site is around 50,000 acres in size, and includes Craigowan Lodge – another of the Queen’s holiday homes.
According to reports, Her Majesty stays there whilst the main castle is still open to tourists during the summer.
The estate also includes Birkhall – the holiday home o Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.