The Queen has left Windsor Castle for Balmoral to begin her first summer vacation in Scotland without her husband Prince Philip.
The 95-year-old monarch wore a turquoise blouse as she was driven to the airport earlier today to fly off to her annual summer vacation.
It may be a harrowing journey for the royal family as it marks the first time she has spent her annual holiday at the castle without her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, who died in April at the age of 99.
Balmoral, and the land around it, is considered the happiest place for the monarch and her late husband.
The royal family is known to have traveled to her Scottish home “off season” in May to privately mourn her beloved husband.
The 95-year-old Queen has left Windsor Castle and headed to Balmoral to begin her first summer vacation in Scotland without her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, who died in April.
The Queen is likely to remain on the 50,000-acre property until early October and will be accompanied by relatives during her stay.
Typically, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are accompanied by their children and grandchildren, as well as close friends, during the summer holidays.
It is likely that the Queen will be joined by other family members, including the Cambridges, the Wessexes and Prince Charles and the Duchess of Rothesay, who often reside in Birkhall, the Prince’s residence on the estate and a place she is also extremely fond of. of, chose to spend their honeymoon there in 2005.
For much of the family, the memory of an earlier, grief-stricken time in Balmoral will remain.
It was here, early in August 1997, that young Princes William and Harry, then only 15 and 12 years old, learned that their mother, Princess Diana, had died in a car accident in Paris – and it was where their grandparents chose to keep them out of sight and in the face of harsh public opinion in the days that followed.
But there are also many happy memories, going back in time – which will likely be at the forefront of the Queen’s mind when she settles into the modest accommodation of Craigowan Lodge with her puppies beside her.
The monarch, 95, departed from her home in Windsor earlier today and could be seen in a turquoise blouse as she was driven to the airport to fly off to her annual summer vacation.
Balmoral: the summer residence of the royal family where the queen does the dishes and Prince Philip would barbecue
A group of assistants have already traveled to the Scottish home of the royal family to prepare the castle for the couple’s arrival. The Queen and Philip remain in the main castle, pictured
Balmoral Castle has been the Scottish home of the Royal Family since it was bought by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria in 1852 and first rented out in 1848.
In the autumn of 1842, two and a half years after her marriage to Prince Albert, Queen Victoria made her first visit to Scotland. They were so affected by the Highlands that they decided to return. A return visit to Perthshire and then Ardverikie encouraged them to seize the opportunity to buy Balmoral.
After Queen Victoria bought the castle in 1852, plans were made to build a new castle about 100 meters northwest of the old building, designed by Aberdeen City architect William Smith.
On September 28, 1853, the foundation stone of the new castle was laid by Queen Victoria. Prince Albert took great interest in the design and construction which was completed in 1856, also in the Scottish Baronial style.
The castle is made of local granite, which was cut with precision using the modern machinery of the time, giving the building a much smoother finish than usual.
Prince Albert began landscaping the area and initiated a multi-year improvement program based on a model he had built in sand. The major works were completed in 1859 and included new houses, stables, workshops and schools.
Royals continue to make improvements to the castle and have the ruggedly beautiful environment fascinated generations of royals ever since.
The Queen has visited Balmoral almost every year of her reign and it holds a special place in her heart.
In 1947, after their marriage, then-Princess Elizabeth and her husband Philip traveled to Balmoral for their honeymoon.
It was the first time since their marriage that the couple had time alone—or as alone as a royal couple can be—away from the prying eyes of the court.
Meanwhile, the privacy in the castle also made the Duke of Edinburgh really let his hair down. He was a keen hunter and could regularly be found on the deer or grouse, or on any of the estate’s salmon beans.
He was also very handy on the barbecue — one he built himself — and often took control at family picnics to cook his kids sausages and burgers made from meat he shot himself.
The queen would do the dishes.
At Balmoral Castle, on a summer’s day in 2003, the Countess of Wessex took a photo (above) of the Queen and Prince Philip enjoying the scenery and each other’s company
Time at Balmoral was, and remains, extremely private for the Royals.
Though they were never actually off duty, the closest thing the Queen and Prince Philip would have was a real vacation. There would be rough, booze-fuelled evenings and jovial house parties, and quiet days with old-fashioned board games by the fire as the rain pounded outside.
Then there was the famous ghillies ball that took place every October, with invitations to the house and estate staff, as well as neighbors and friends.
A real ‘upstairs’ event, it was never complete without Scottish country dancing and if you were lucky enough to receive an invite, you could quite easily find yourself being flung across the dance floor by the Prince himself, resplendent in a kilt and smiling.
In April, the Queen released a photo of herself and Philip before his funeral.
It is likely that the Queen will be joined by other family members, including the Cambridges, the Wessexes and Prince Charles and the Duchess of Rothesay, who often reside in Birkhall, the Prince’s residence on the estate and a place she is also extremely fond of. of, chose to spend their honeymoon there in 2005
It shows the couple in one of their ‘happy places’ – the Coyles of Muick hills near Balmoral, where they enjoyed walking and picnicking throughout their long lives together. The Queen loves the place so much that she named her new corgi puppy after it.
The photo – taken by their daughter-in-law, the Countess of Wessex, in 2003 during one of their family’s summer vacations – was specially chosen by Her Majesty to share before the funeral.
The couple look blissful and relaxed as they recline in the moors, the Queen in her free Scottish wool twinset dress, pearls and a tartan skirt, with Philip in country casuals and a sun hat on his knee.
In May, the Queen paid a quiet visit to the castle, unlike the trips she often made en famille during the Royals’ usual August-October Scottish break.
There will be no days out to the Highland Games in Braemar, nor visits from heads of state.
Balmoral was, for the Royals, extremely private. While it was never out of service, it was the closest thing the Queen and Prince Philip (pictured in Balmoral in 1972) would come to an actual holiday
The Queen will not be staying in the castle itself, but in the more casual seven-bedroom Craigowan Lodge on the Balmoral Estate, far from the prying eyes of visiting tourists and a stone’s throw from where the couple spent part of their honeymoon seven decades ago. spent .
She will take a small staff with her, while her niece, Lady Sarah Chatto, daughter of Princess Margaret and a beloved relative, is allowed to join her for a while.
But in this lonely, sad pilgrimage to a place of so many fond memories, the Queen will follow in the footsteps of those who came before her.
Nearly 160 years ago, Queen Victoria, haunted by grief over the death of Prince Albert, made the same trip to Balmoral to rage over the untimely passing of her beloved husband.