The Queen Spends Her Summer at Craigowan Lodge in Balmoral Amidst Health Concern

Queen Elizabeth II began her annual summer break in Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland in July. Her summer break started early due to the heatwave in England. Royal aide feared the intense summer heat might have implications on Her Majesty's health.

This is also the second time in 74 years that Her Majesty will be spending summer in Balmoral without her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who died in April 2021.

Usually, The Queen has a traditional welcome ceremony upon arrival in Balmoral with Scottish soldiers and royal fans gathering at the gates. 

The Queen and the traditional welcome ceremony in Balmoral - August 2021

This year, however, the Queen reportedly escaped the traditional ceremony due to her mobility issues, and was just welcomed privately. 

Despite concerns over the Queen's health issues, Buckingham Palace released a statement over the weekend suggesting the change came 'in line with adapting Her Majesty's schedule for her comfort'. 

Queen Elizabeth II during the welcome ceremony in August 2021

Queen Elizabeth II traditionally spends summer in Balmoral between July and October, this year, however, it was reported she would be interrupting her summer break to return to Windsor Castle in September to meet the replacement of Boris Johnson as British Prime Minister.

Balmoral Estate

Balmoral is not part of the Crown estate. It is a private estate owned by the Queen and it's one of her annual sources of income. 

Prince Philip took charge of the administration and management of Balmoral estate and other private estates of The Queen during his active days as prince consort.

Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II in Balmoral.
Photographed by The Countess of Wessex

Balmoral has been a royal private residence since Queen Victoria’s reign. Her husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, purchased the estate in 1852. 

Prince Albert supervised the development of Balmoral estate, including the construction of the new castle, which would become the Balmoral Castle.

Sadly, he passed away 10 years later, in 1862, at just 43 years old, due to a complications brought by typhoid fever.

Queen Elizabeth II spends every summer at her Scottish residence in Balmoral, however, there is a more private cottage on the estate where she reportedly goes to have more private time. 

Craigowan Lodge, a picturesque manor within the grounds of Balmoral estate. It guarantees privacy, and tranquility because it's not open to the public.

Craigowan Lodge

Craigowan Lodge holds lots of special memories for the Queen. The lodge is located on the edge of a forest and is reportedly a calm and quiet retreat.

Craigowan Lodge within Balmoral estate. Getty Images

Craigowan Lodge is a rustic stone cottage, about a mile from the main Balmoral castle. The Queen spends the first few days of her yearly summer holiday there before the tourist visiting season is over at Balmoral.

Craigowan Lodge within Balmoral estate. Getty Images

Craigowan Lodge is located within Balmoral estate, and is said to be the favorite home of The Queen and Prince Philip, and where they would usually stay during summer. 

The Prince and Princess of Wales, and their young sons, William and Harry, used to stay at Craigowan Lodge during summer break in Balmoral.

It was also at Craigowan Lodge area where Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer had a photo call with photographers in May 1981, three months before their royal wedding.

The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer at Craigowan Lodge with his labrador, Harvey

Prince Charles and Lady Diana were accompanied by his beloved white labrador, Harvey, during the photoshoot.

The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer at Craigowan Lodge with his labrador, Harvey

Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer on May 6, 1981 at Craigowan Lodge.
Two months before the royal wedding.

The Royal Family only used Balmoral Castle during royal events, such as parties, get together, and when they receive important guests.

Today, The Prince of Wales' home in Scotland is Birkhall, a royal property he inherited from The Queen Mother in 2002. This manor is also located within the grounds of Balmoral estate.

Craigowan Lodge is a picturesque stone property surrounded on several sides by woodland and greenery. It's not only close to the main castle, but also close to Prince Charles' home - Birkhall, and Tam-Na-Ghar cottage, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also stay when they are in Balmoral.   

Despite often being described as a cottage, Craigowan Lodge is actually more of a mansion than an ordinary cottage. It is a private property and not open to the public.

Prince Philip and The Queen in 1972 summer break in Balmoral

No available photos of the lodge's interiors are shared publicly by the Royal Family. However, royal experts believed Craigowan Lodge has seven bedrooms, a sitting room, a comfortable living room, and quarters for staff. 

During their marriage, it’s said that Prince Charles and Princess Diana often stayed at Craigowan Lodge with Prince William and Prince Harry during summer vacation.  

The Queen’s grandchild, Princess Eugenie, once opened up on the 2016 ITV documentary: "Our Queen at Ninety" about how much the Scottish highlands mean to her grandmother. 

"It's the most beautiful place on earth. I think Granny is the most happy there. I think she really, really loves the Highlands,” she explained at the time. 

It’s understood that when the Queen is at Balmoral she can relax and enjoy private time without public scrutiny. 

Craigowan Lodge provides the same level of picturesque privacy, and according to royal expert Wesley Kerr, time there allowed Her Majesty and Prince Philip to be an “ordinary” couple.  

Discussing Craigowan Lodge on the Channel 5 documentary, "Secrets of the Royal Palaces", Wesley previously expressed his belief that the Queen and Prince Philip enjoyed life without the “grandeur” they experience at other properties like Buckingham Palace.

“I don’t imagine that she’s doing the cooking or anything, but she and the Duke are able to be there as an ordinary married couple without the grandeur,” the expert claimed. 

He went on to add, "I think the Queen sees the grandeur in these amazing houses as, sort of, part of the job. But the Queen, like anybody else, can only be in one room at a time. So one room in a small house is probably a rather nice change.”

Following the death of Prince Philip in April 2021, it was believed that Her Majesty spent time at Craigowan Lodge mourning his passing.

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