There were questions if the Queen would make her annual summer trip to Balmoral Castle amid COVID-19

By Stephanie Petit
August 04, 2020 02:04 PM
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Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth
The Image Direct

Even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Queen Elizabeth headed to Scotland for her annual summer retreat.

The monarch, 94, and her husband Prince Philip, 99, boarded a private plane to Aberdeenshire and were taken by car to Balmoral Castle on Tuesday. The royal couple disembarked the plane in gloomy weather, followed by their two dorgis, a mix of dachshund and corgi, carried down the plane's step by aides.

Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, the royals' arrival will be without the usual festivities. Traditionally, the Queen inspects the guard of honor (which sometimes includes an encounter with a cheeky pony) before heading inside the castle.

For more than 150 years, the Scottish castle has served as a private retreat for the British royals. In the highlands, the royals normally like to entertain friends, hold dances, picnic and go on shooting parties – all the while battling the nibbling little flies that stalk the heather-covered mountain sides.

Prince Philip
The Image Direct

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

The expansive property has been in the royal family since 1845, when Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, purchased the castle and the surrounding 7,000 acre estate.

Balmoral Castle
Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip have been isolating together at Windsor Castle since March amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, they did step out for a special occasion last month: the wedding of their granddaughter Princess Beatrice to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.

Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi
Benjamin Wheeler/PA

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About 20 close friends family members witnessed the socially distant nuptials at All Saint's Chapel in Windsor Great Park.