Every summer, the Queen journeys up to Scotland to visit her beloved Balmoral estate. Described by Princess Eugenie as the 'most beautiful place on earth,' Balmoral is the Queen's favourite of her homes, where she relaxes, drives her Land Rover and rides her horses around her 300,000 acres.
While the Queen recently headed up to Scotland, she's been staying at a cottage nearby to the castle because as Balmoral is a tourist attraction, the estate has been busy with visitors.
However, a change is taking place as the castle has closed its doors to the public, so the Queen can move in.
"Balmoral castle and grounds is now closed to the public until April 2022. We would like to thank each and every visitor to the estate throughout 2021 and we hope you all had a very memorable experience. Despite the challenges and restrictions caused by the pandemic it’s been our pleasure to welcome so many happy faces through the gates at Balmoral," the castle's official Instagram account told followers.
This means that now, Her Majesty can move into her beloved castle, where she spent many happy summers with her husband Prince Philip. This is presumably an emotional moment for the monarch, as it's the first time the Queen is returning to Balmoral since her husband's death in April.
Princess Eugenie revealed in the Our Queen At Ninety documentary that Balmoral is where the Queen is happiest. "I think Granny is the most happy there. I think she really, really loves the Highlands. Walks, picnics, dogs—a lot of dogs, there’s always dogs—and people coming in and out all the time."
"It’s a lovely base for Granny and Grandpa, for us to come and see them up there, where you just have room to breathe and run," Eugenie said in 2016.
The Queen likes to spend the mornings on the moors walking her corgis and occasionally driving her guests up to their shoots - according to Tatler, she has been spotted ferrying the Duchess of Cambridge up to the grouse moor to join the Duke of Cambridge.
The Queen particularly likes visiting her Scottish estate as it's a chance to properly relax. She has no official duties at Balmoral - except from making an appearance at Braemar Gathering, which involves caber tossing, a tug of war competition and sack races.
The whole family are fond of visiting Balmoral, too. Princess Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank, visited the Scottish estate last year, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, also ventured to Scotland in 2020.
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