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Scotland: a royal love affair

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When Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince Charles travel to Scotland this week, it will be a fond return for all three. The royal family have a rich and proud history with Scotland, which has housed, schooled and inspired the Windsors for decades. The country's role in the future of the monarchy is also key: William and Kate fell in love in the pretty coastal town of St Andrews in Fife. Married almost two years, they're now expecting the baby that will represent the new generation of royals. Both still support the university where they became sweethearts. They recently took a trip down memory lane for St Andrews University's 600th anniversary celebrations in February.


The Duke described the occasion as "very special for Catherine and me" and said that he and the Duchess "loved" St Andrews for the friendships and the loving relationships they made there. "I thank God for those friendships, our friendship, forged in our ancient halls," he said, his words making it clear just how much their old stomping ground means to the couple. The last time the pair were up north, they were known simply as William and Kate. But when they visit Glasgow and East Ayrshire for their engagement, they'll get the chance to savour the sound of their Scottish titles, The Earl and Countess of Strathearn. Prince Charles also has an alternative title, and is known as the Duke of Rothesay north of the border. The Prince of Wales is just as familiar with Scotland's delights. He often joins his parents the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the annual Braemar gathering - Scotland's most famous Highland Games. It is one of the Queen's favourite engagements, during which she visibly relaxes with her family as they enjoy traditional events like caber tossing, Highland dancing and the tug of war.


On the rare occasions when the Queen drops her famous reserve, it's likely she is in the stands at the Highland Games, of which she is patron. The royal family often spend quality time at their residence at Balmoral. Bought by Queen Victoria in 1852 and with some 50,000 acres of pine-dotted land, it competes with Sandringham as the Windsors' favourite estate. They regard it as a secluded country location where they can get away from it all and practice beloved country sports such as hillwalking, shooting and salmon fishing. And it's where they tend to celebrate special occasions. In 2009, William whisked Kate away to mark her birthday with a romantic candlelit dinner on the banks of the River Dee.

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