Queen Elizabeth died at Balmoral Castle, which was expected because she paid an annual royal visit to Balmoral from August to October each year. To call this a castle is really a misnomer. It’s more of a hunting lodge than royal residence. Now the “Game of Homes” will commence, and Charles gets to decide who lives where.
Balmoral Castle was built for Queen Victoria. She reigned from 1837 until 1901. Her 63 years on the British throne was a record at the time. Elizabeth exceeded 63 years and broke that record. Princess Kate will inherit Queen Elizabeth’s jewelry but Charles will decide who gets to live where, and for now Meghan and Harry will inherit nothing of value and will not select living quarters for their family. Whether Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry and their children will get to make any decisions about anything is, so far as anyone knows, still to be determined. Harry used to be 3rd in line to pick where he wants to live, but that has surely changed. Now Prince George, William’s son, not Harry, is 3rd in line to pick where he wants to live, and he wants to live in Clarence House. Harry is demanding respect for his wife, however. We’ll see what happens in the next couple of months.
Queen Victoria stayed at Balmoral Castle for the first time in 1848. It was rebuilt for her beginning in 1855, and she used it for the duration of her reign. It’s 8 miles west of Ballater, Scotland. Queen Elizabeth’s mother doted on Scotland too, and her royal residence there was called the Castle of Mey. It’s on the north coast of Scotland between Thurso and John O’Groats. She owned it beginning in 1952 after her husband died and she loved staying there. Ruth & I have visited both royal residences. Balmoral Castle hides behind a thick curtain of trees and has a splendid garden in which many roses are growing. The Castle of Mey had a great garden too despite its northern location. It’s now opened 7 days a week throughout the summer, but it was closed for 10 days this summer at the end of July when King Charles and his wife Camilla were scheduled to visit. I wonder if they made it. Balmoral Castle started a revival of interest in the Scottish Baronial style of architecture that Elizabeth apparently liked.
Balmoral Castle has 1,200 staff members. Its coffee shop is normally dismantled during a royal visit, but Elizabeth’s death probably changed everything. People usually enjoyed seeing the Landseer paintings and the royal silver while there but, again, the queen’s death probably changed everything.
Queen Victoria began the practice of Royal Warrants that Elizabeth continued. This involved supporting certain brand names as a royal prerogative. In 1789 even before Victoria was Queen there was a royal pin maker and a royal rat catcher. Royal Warrants are now held for 5 years and may be cancelled at any time. Reportedly 800 concerns like Twinings tea and Schweppes products hold Royal Warrants. The official tweed maker at Balmoral is John G. Harvey of England. To win royal favor this company’s choice of colors reflected the Scottish countryside. For some reason, Balmoral exhibits usually tended to favor style issues. Queen Elizabeth supposedly chose the roses grown in formal Balmoral gardens. That will have to change now.