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King Charles starts to make eco-friendly changes to late Queen's favourite home

The King is passionate about the environment

King Charles in navy coat with red poppy
Francesca Shillcock
Francesca ShillcockSenior TV & Film Writer
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It's no secret that King Charles is passionate about climate and wildlife, so it's not surprising that the monarch is eager to apply his environmental endeavours to his residences and the surrounding areas.

And it seems the King is particularly keen to ensure his late mother Queen Elizabeth II's favourite home, Balmoral, remains as eco-friendly as possible.

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The monarch – who celebrates his 75th birthday this week – has backed a new initiative from Riverwoods and Scottish Wildlife Trust that is aiming to boost the recovery of Scotland's rivers and reverse the decline of freshwater species.

The King has backed a team of landowners, gamekeepers and fisheries experts carrying out significant restoration work, such as expanding river woodlands, in the surrounding area. And the team who work at the Scottish royal residence itself are also undertaking their own extensive work to restore natural processes on the River Muick, Deeside.

One method of the project sees the team of experts inserting dead trees back into the river to recreate complex underwater habitats and diversify flows in ways that benefit wildlife, including spawning fish.

Richard Gledson, a factor at Balmoral Estate explained how the monarch was convinced of the benefits the unique project would have on the surrounding areas at the royal residence.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales attend the 2017 Braemar Highland Gathering © Samir Hussein
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales attend the 2017 Braemar Highland Gathering

"Historically, we were so tidy-minded. If a tree fell into the river, you'd be told to take it out. But times have changed, and King Charles was quickly convinced of the plan’s potential benefits. His Majesty is keen for us to do as much as we can to improve the environment, and if that encourages others to follow our example, then we'd be delighted."

The late Queen made no secret of the fact that Balmoral was a favourite of her residences. Throughout her reign from a young monarch until her final days, Her Late Majesty would spend many weeks at Balmoral during the summer months, where she would encourage her close family to join her for their summer holidays.

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Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Edward, Prince Charles and Prince Andrew at Balmoral © Keystone
Balmoral was the late Queen's favourite residence

When Prince William and Prince Harry were young children, their father, then Prince Charles, would take his sons to Balmoral to join the Queen and the late Prince Philip in August to enjoy the sprawling estate.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh with their sons Prince Edward and Prince Andrew (in red) at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, on their Silver Wedding anniversary year, September 1972.  (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
The royals would spend their summer at the Scottish residence

In recent years, other members of the royal family have kept up this tradition. Prince William and Princess Kate have taken their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, to Balmoral for their summer break, and the late Queen's daughter, Princess Anne, would also holiday in Balmoral with her children, Zara and Peter Phillips, and her five grandchildren.

Balmoral is the royal residence where the late Queen spent her final days. Her Late Majesty passed away on 8 September 2022 aged 96. Her death certificate later revealed the cause listed as "old age". News of her death and the accession of Charles as King was announced to the world by Buckingham Palace at 6.30pm that evening.

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