The Queen is taking a well-earned break from the hustle and bustle of Windsor at her private Scottish residence of Balmoral. Located on Royal Deeside in Aberdeenshire, the sprawling estate offers the Queen plenty of space to roam and enjoy the natural world, and there are plenty of Scottish traditions the monarch is incredibly fond of.
Inspection of the guard of honour
When the Queen arrives at Balmoral, she traditionally inspects a guard of honour from the Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion.
However, the usually high-profile event was held privately earlier this month for the monarch’s comfort, as she has been experiencing mobility issues for some time.
A royal source told the Mirror: “The traditional welcome to Balmoral is normally cemented in the Queen’s calendar and something Her Majesty really enjoys, being able to greet locals who travel to see her.
“It’s a bitter disappointment the ceremony will not take place in its traditional form.”
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Exploring the great outdoors
Whether it’s horse riding or a long country walk, the Queen is known to adore spending time outdoors at Balmoral.
The Queen’s granddaughter Princess Eugenie once said in the ITV documentary, Our Queen At Ninety: “I think Granny is the most happy there. I think she really, really loves the Highlands.”
While in residence at Balmoral, the Royal Family has been known to take part in bloodsports like deer stalking and grouse shooting.
The Braemar Gathering
On the first Saturday in September, the famous Braemar Gathering is held in Braemar near Ballater.
Since the reign of Queen Victoria, the reigning monarch and members of the Royal Family have attended the Highland fixture, and it’s a firm favourite in the Queen’s calendar.
Events include tossing the caber, hammer-throwing and an intense tug-of-war.
The Ghillies Ball
To mark the end of her Balmoral stay, every summer the Queen hosts a party for her staff called the Ghillies Ball.
Scottish country dances take place in the grand ballroom of Balmoral Castle, and it was a tradition carried on by the Queen’s father and grandfather, Kings George VI and V.
The event is private, and the monarch herself has been known to take part in the dances on past occasions.