Inside Queen Elizabeth's Summer Getaway at Balmoral Castle — and Who Will Be Invited to Visit

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·4 min read
Inside Queen Elizabeth's Summer Getaway at Balmoral Castle — and Who Will Be Invited to Visit
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Queen Elizabeth is back in Scotland, continuing a royal summer tradition.

The monarch, 96, was spotted last week leaving her royal residence of Windsor Castle to travel to her Balmoral estate in Scotland, where she traditionally retreats in the late summer months. Since Balmoral Castle is open to the public until August 2 this year, the Queen will likely spend the next couple of weeks staying elsewhere on the estate before officially moving into the castle.

For more than 150 years, the Scottish castle has served as a private retreat for the British royal family (and their beloved dogs, of course!). During the months of August and September, it's likely that many members of the royal family — including the Queen's children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren — will head to Scotland for a visit with the monarch. There, they'll entertain friends, hold dances, have picnics and go on shooting parties on the 7,000-acre estate.

RELATED: See Inside Queen Elizabeth's Go-To Summer Escape, Balmoral Castle in Scotland

Baby Prince Andrew perches on Prince Philip's lap during a picnic on the grounds of Balmoral Castle. Also pictured are Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and Princess Anne.
Baby Prince Andrew perches on Prince Philip's lap during a picnic on the grounds of Balmoral Castle. Also pictured are Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and Princess Anne.

Bettmann Archive/Getty Royal Family at Balmoral

It's even possible that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who relocated to California in 2020, will make the trip to Scotland to visit Harry's grandmother. The Sun reports that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were invited to the summer estate by the Queen.

"Staff have been told to expect the full list of royals including Harry, Meghan and their children Archie and Lilibet," a source told the outlet.

Queen Elizabeth II during an inspection of the Balaklava Company, 5 Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland at the gates at Balmoral, as she takes up summer residence at the castle, on August 9, 2021 in Ballater, Aberdeenshire.
Queen Elizabeth II during an inspection of the Balaklava Company, 5 Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland at the gates at Balmoral, as she takes up summer residence at the castle, on August 9, 2021 in Ballater, Aberdeenshire.

Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Queen Elizabeth

Prince Harry and Meghan visited the Queen in April en route to Harry's Invictus Games in the Netherlands. Meghan, 40, and Prince Harry, 37, also traveled to the U.K. last month for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations, where they attended Trooping the Colour and a service of thanksgiving. They also celebrated daughter Lili's first birthday with a backyard party at their U.K. home, Frogmore Cottage, and introduced Lili to her great-grandmother the Queen for the first time.

RELATED: Wellies and Kilts! 14 Royal Family Portraits at their Favorite Scottish Getaway, Balmoral

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 03: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex depart after the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on June 03, 2022 in London, England. The Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II is being celebrated from June 2 to June 5, 2022, in the UK and Commonwealth to mark the 70th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II on 6 February 1952. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage,)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 03: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex depart after the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on June 03, 2022 in London, England. The Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II is being celebrated from June 2 to June 5, 2022, in the UK and Commonwealth to mark the 70th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II on 6 February 1952. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage,)

Samir Hussein/WireImage Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attending the Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen's Jubilee on June 3.

However, their trip noticeably did not include any public interactions with Harry's brother, Prince William, or father, Prince Charles, amid a rift within the family, which the couple talked about in their March 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Prince William and Kate Middleton's summer will almost certainly include a trip to Scotland with their three children: Prince George, 9, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4. Following the death of Prince Philip in April 2021, the couple shared a number of previously unseen photos taken at the Balmoral estate — including a sweet shot of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip surrounded by their great-grandchildren.

Another newly released picture was a 2015 shot featuring the Queen and Prince Philip posing with Kate, William, Prince George and a baby Princess Charlotte at the Scotland escape.

Prince William has been visiting Balmoral since he was a young boy, and it's where he was when he learned of his mother Princess Diana's death. William and Kate also have a special spot in their hearts for Scotland as it's where they first met as college students at the University of St. Andrews.

William previously publicly stated that "the connection I feel to Scotland will forever run deep."

"It was here in Scotland — 20 years ago this year — that I first met Catherine. Needless to say, the town where you meet your future wife holds a very special place in your heart." He added, "George, Charlotte and Louis already know how dear Scotland is to both of us, and they are starting to build their own happy memories here too. We have no doubt they will grow up sharing our love and connection to Scotland from the Highlands to the Central Belt, from the Islands to the Borders."

Mike Tindall, who is married to the Queen's granddaughter Zara, shared last year a little bit about their visit to Balmoral on his rugby podcast.

"We went up to Scotland, so we've had a good family vacay through August, which was quite nice with the kids," he said.


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A general view of Balmoral Castle, which is one of the residences of the Royal family, and where Queen Elizabeth II traditionally spends the summer months.
A general view of Balmoral Castle, which is one of the residences of the Royal family, and where Queen Elizabeth II traditionally spends the summer months.

Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Balmoral Castle

Although it's a vacation, it's not all play for the monarch while she's away in the Scottish Highlands. She continues to work, reading her diplomatic papers in the famous "red boxes" delivered daily. She also normally continues to hold audiences and undertake some public engagements.

The U.K. prime minister also traditionally visits Balmoral each year — and the Queen may also meet a new leader, the 15th of her reign, during this trip. After Boris Johnson announced that he was stepping down from the position earlier this month, the newly elected prime minister will likely travel to Scotland for an audience with the monarch soon after the early September election.