Summer holiday back on for Queen and Prince Philip as they plan trip to Balmoral

Rebecca Taylor
Royal Correspondent
The Queen and Philip will be able to go to their Scottish home in August. (Chris Jackson/PA Wire)

The Queen will be going on her summer holiday, as it’s confirmed she and her husband can travel to Scotland early next month.

The Queen and Prince Philip spend every summer at Balmoral, their home in Aberdeenshire, but the annual trip was in some doubt this year because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

But on Wednesday, Buckingham Palace confirmed their trip.

A palace spokesman said: “The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh plan to move to Balmoral Castle in early August to commence their annual summer stay.

“All arrangements will be in line with the relevant guidelines and advice.”

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, have been in Windsor Castle since 19 March, when they relocated there a week earlier than usual, for Easter Court.

They have remained there in isolation, though in recent weeks, both have made public appearances.

The duke, 99, made an appearance on Wednesday morning, when he attended a ceremony to hand over his role of Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles.

Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, has taken over.

The Queen enjoying the 2018 Highland Games. (WireImage)

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The Queen made two televised appearances in the early days of the pandemic, and since then has carried out virtual engagements on zoom.

She has also carried out an investiture for Captain Sir Tom Moore, and watched her socially distanced official birthday celebrations.

Both the Queen and the duke were able to attend their granddaughter Princess Beatrice’s wedding on 17 July.

Staying at Balmoral for the summer is a favourite part of the Queen’s year and it had long been thought she would make the trip should it fit regulations.

Canadian Governor General Designate Julie Payette had an audience with the Queen in Balmoral in 2017. (Getty Images)
The Queen Elizabeth II attends Crathie Kirk when she is in Scotland. (PA Images)

It’s thought members of her family will come to visit her in the Aberdeenshire estate over the summer, giving them a change of scenery. Prince William and Kate are in Anmer Hall in Norfolk with their children and may make the trip over the border to see the Queen and the duke.

Prince Charles and Camilla have only recently returned to England from Scotland, as they spent the majority of lockdown in Birkhall, their Scottish home.

But they may be keen to reunite with the Cambridge children, and Charles spoke of missing his father during the lockdown too.

However it’s very unlikely Prince Harry and Meghan would be able to make the trip from their LA home with son Archie, as they had planned.

Camilla, the Queen and Prince Charles enjoying the Braemar Gathering in 2019. (Getty Images)
The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh with Princess Anne, Prince Charles and baby Prince Andrew at Balmoral in the 1960s. (PA Images)

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There are few engagements during the summer in Scotland, but the royals are usually seen at the Braemar Gathering, where the Queen is Chieftain of the Highland Games.

This year though the games are cancelled.

The Scottish estate has good memories attached for many of the royals, including Princess Eugenie, who once said of it: “Walks, picnics, dogs – a lot of dogs, there’s always dogs – and people coming in and out all the time.

“It’s a lovely base for granny and grandpa, for us to come and see them up there; where you just have room to breathe and run.”

It’s also said they have family barbecues, with Philip on the grill and the Queen on the washing up.

Prime ministers and first ministers usually visit the monarch and stay for a short time, but it’s unlikely this would happen this year because of the virus.

Three weeks ago, there were warnings from rangers on the Balmoral estate, after the closure of the toilets and the relaxation of Scotland’s exercise rules led to an increase in faeces and wipes littered on the estate.