Queen Elizabeth II will return to her favourite place, Balmoral Castle, to privately grieve for her beloved Philip. The wild countryside they both loved becomes the place of strength for the monarch who has enough to rethink this year. Prince Harry’s behaviour and his recent ‘ruthlessly cruel’ revelations, for an instance.
Balmoral remains a secluded corner of Royal Deeside and surrounded by the wild countryside Queen and her husband always loved. In fact, it was where they could escape the rigours of court life in London and at Windsor, spend treasured time with family and to some extent let their hair down.
Following the monarch’s state opening of parliament, she is to travel to Balmoral ‘out of season’ this month to spend some time privately. Alas, without her beloved Philip. It will be a low-key visit, unlike the trips she often made en famille during the Royals’ usual August to October Scottish break.
This year, there will be no days out to the Highland Games at Braemar, nor visits from heads of state. The Queen will not stay in the castle itself but at the more informal seven-bedroom Craigowan Lodge on the Balmoral Estate, far from the prying eyes of visiting tourists and a stone’s throw from where, seven decades ago, the couple spent part of their honeymoon.
She will take with her a small staff, while her niece, Lady Sarah Chatto, daughter of Princess Margaret and a much-favoured family member, may join her for some of the time.