The Queen spends every August at her Scottish retreat Balmoral Castle and is traditionally given an official welcome to the estate in the form of a small military ceremony captured by photographers. However, this year Buckingham Palace has confirmed that the event will be held privately, with a royal source saying that the “comfort” of the 96-year-old monarch was the reason behind the change.
The Queen’s official welcome to Balmoral usually sees her welcomed by a guard of honor as pipes and drums are played. Last year—the first time the ceremony had taken place since 2019 due to the pandemic—she beamed as she greeted the Royal Regiment of Scotland’s mascot, a Shetland Pony called Lance Corporal Cruachan IV. It is not known whether an image of the private welcome—taking place this week—will be released.
The change is the latest in a series of modifications that have been made to the Queen’s timetable in recent months as she struggles with mobility issues. In the past year she has been forced to pull out of a number of key events in her annual diary including the Remembrance Sunday service, Maundy Thursday and the State Opening of Parliament. She was also unable to attend many of the events throughout her Platinum Jubilee celebrations although she did make two appearances on the Buckingham Palace balcony during the central jubilee weekend. In a thank you message at the end of the weekend the Queen expressed her commitment to continue in her role despite her advancing years, saying, “I remain committed to serving you to the best of my ability, supported by my family.”
The Queen is likely to now stay at Balmoral Castle until early September before returning to Windsor where she now spends the majority of her time. This is her second summer at the property in the Scottish highlands without Prince Philip and she is expected to be kept company by visiting family members. Prince Charles has a property on the Aberdeenshire estate, called Birkhall.
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