Her Majesty the Queen has plenty of royal residences up and down the UK, but there are two of them which stand out. Both Balmoral Castle and the Sandringham Estate are privately owned by the monarch making them extra special.
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All of the Queen's other properties, such as Windsor Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse and even Buckingham Palace are owned by the Crown Estate and not the Queen privately.
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But what does this really mean? The Crown Estate website explains: "The Crown Estate belongs to the reigning monarch 'in right of The Crown', that is, it is owned by the monarch for the duration of their reign, by virtue of their accession to the throne. But it is not the private property of the monarch - it cannot be sold by the monarch, nor do revenues from it belong to the monarch."
Balmoral Castle is one of the Queen's favourite places
However, both Balmoral and Sandringham are private properties for Her Majesty to do with as she likes, and therefore, one day she could choose to sell these or pass them on to members of her family.
We already know that Balmoral holds a strong place in the Queen's heart as she once famously called it a "paradise in the Highlands" and many of the tributes for the late Prince Philip from the royal family were photographs taken during the summers they spent at this idyllic home.
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The royal spend Christmas at Sandringham
Sandringham is the location of choice for Her Majesty every Christmas – although the coronavirus pandemic has halted that temporarily. And just with the summers at Balmoral, the festive season at Sandringham is a time for the royals to make lasting memories together as a family.
It is believed these locations provide a sanctuary for the Queen and her family to live a more 'normal' life, away from her official duties and public appearances.
The royal family gather at Balmoral each summer
Cherie Blair (wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair) visited Balmoral with the family once and recalled that they even get stuck into the washing up: "You think I’m joking, but I’m not. They put the gloves on and stick their hands in the sink. The Queen asks if you’ve finished, she stacks the plates up and goes off to the sink."
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