Today, after 70 decades on the throne, Queen Elizabeth has died at the age of 96. Earlier today, the royal family, including Prince Harry, gathered by her side at Balmoral Castle for a final visit. Balmoral has been a holiday home of the Royal Family since 1852, when Prince Albert purchased the original castle and its estate for his wife, Queen Victoria. Balmoral Castle is just one of many royal residences; there are over 20 royal homes, which are worth a grand total of approximately $18 billion. Here's what makes Balmoral particularly unique.
Queen Victoria first visited Scotland in 1842, with her husband, Prince Albert, and the trip went so well that they decided to purchase the Balmoral Estate six years later, in 1848. After Queen Victoria’s death in 1901, Balmoral was left to King Edward VII. Today, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, and Prince Charles all contribute to the management and improvements of the estate.
Every year, Queen Elizabeth II spends part of her summer at Balmoral Castle, which sits on an estate that encompasses some 50,000 acres. Balmoral Estate also features farmland and forests, which serve as home to deer, ponies, Highland cattle, and red grouse. In the 2016 film Our Queen at Ninety, Princess Eugenie spoke of Queen Elizabeth II’s love for the property, saying, "I think Granny is the most happy there. I think she really, really loves the Highlands.”
Balmoral Castle is situated in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The structure is a work of the Scottish baronial style of architecture, and it is a listed building of Category A, meaning that it is of national or international importance. Following the decision that the size of the original home was inadequate due to the magnitude of the royal family, Scottish architect William Smith designed the castle that exists today. Prince Albert was also a part of the design process, contributing edits to Smith’s designs.
The building of the new structure was completed in 1856, and the original castle was demolished not long after. The royals stayed in the first castle until the completion of the new version. Commemorating the first Balmoral Castle is a stone that was set in place by Queen Victoria herself in the spot where the front door once was. Placed in a space beneath the stone is a bottle that contains coins from the time period and parchment paper that was signed by Queen Victoria. The paper is dated September 28th, 1853.
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