Queen Elizabeth is heading north to her Scottish estate, Balmoral, for her annual break

By Simon Perry
July 20, 2018 10:50 AM
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Let the royal summer begin!

Queen Elizabeth is heading north to her Scottish estate, Balmoral, for her annual break as Buckingham Palace prepares to open for the holidays.

But 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 will also continue to hold audiences and undertake some public engagements.

Since the main Balmoral castle is still open for visitors, the Queen is believed to be staying at one of her favorite residences on the Balmoral estate, the cozy Craigowan Lodge, before moving into the castle once the public opening of the main residence is over.

Balmoral Castle
Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth

During her summer holiday, she will also entertain many of her immediate family members, and this season will mark Meghan Markle’s first summer there since her wedding to Prince Harry. Harry took Meghan to his grandmother’s Scottish highlands estate last September before their engagement was announced.

In the highlands, the royals 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.

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The Queen on horseback looking towards Balmoral Castle, Scotland in the distance during the royal family’s annual summer holiday in September 1971.
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The home had a starring role in the 2006 film The Queen starring Helen Mirren, as most of the royals were there when the tragic news that Princess Diana had died in a car crash in Paris was relayed to them on August 31, 1997.

A rare look inside Balmoral Castle as the Queen entertains Canadian Governor General Designate Julie Payette.
Express Newspapers/AP

Prince Philip will likely be joining the Queen for their long summer holiday, which will last until early October. Philip, 97, has been staying at Wood Farm, on their Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England. The royal retired from public life last summer. Just last week, he took a helicopter – paid for out of his own money – for a 190-mile journey south west from Sandringham to Romsey, Hampshire, for the christening of his latest godchild.

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He arrived last Thursday before the ceremony, which took place at Romsey Abbey on Friday, while the Queen was hosting President Donald Trump at Windsor Castle. The christening was for the child of Thomas and Alexandra Hooper, who is the great-granddaughter of Philip’s uncle, the late Lord Mountbatten.

Buckingham Palace will open to visitors on Saturday with a special exhibit of art chosen by Prince Charles in honor of his upcoming 70th birthday.