“Balmoral always seems to breathe peace and make one forget the world and its sad turmoils,” the Queen once said, quoting her great-great-grandmother Victoria.
But there’s no doubt there will be more than a few tears shed as her children King Charles III, 74, and Anne, Princess Royal, 72, make their first trip back to the Scottish castle since the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
“The Queen loved her annual summer holidays at Balmoral, and the King and his sister will feel her presence on every flower of heather,” royal commentator Phil Dampier tells Woman’s Day.
“Although Charles prefers living at nearby Birkhall, the home he inherited from the Queen Mum, he will want to use the main castle and grounds to entertain family and friends, as the royals have done since the days of Queen Victoria. Family members will come and go throughout the summer, hunting stags, fishing salmon in the River Dee and enjoying picnics at remote beauty spots.”
The trip will be particularly poignant for them as the castle was where the Queen spent her final days before she died on September 8.
Almost a year later, the family are still learning to navigate life without her.
“Charles and Anne will find hundreds of memories come flooding back of childhood carefree days with their parents – the Queen washing up dishes in log cabins while Prince Philip cooked sausages over a barbecue outside,” says Phil.
“And, of course, Charles and Anne will reflect on events last year when their mother passed away at the Scottish home she loved, and they took her body back to London via Edinburgh for her state funeral.”
While the Queen spent months at her designated “happy place”, it’s expected Charles, who has been in Scotland for his second coronation, will make a much shorter trip.
“Now, it’s the turn of the younger generation and I can imagine Prince William and his wife Kate taking over the castle for a week and inviting some of their friends,” says Phil.
“Long-term, Charles will have to decide the future of Balmoral and his other homes as he has too many, but this year, I’m sure, he will just enjoy the pure Scottish air and remember his parents and so many happy times.”