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Carole and Michael Middleton join the royal family at Balmoral

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Balmoral is playing host to a large family gathering following the arrival of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, and Carole and Michael Middleton. Kate's parents flew into Aberdeen last week on a scheduled British Airways flight, just a few hours after their daughter and son-in-law, for a short holiday in the Highlands at the invitation of the Queen.

The Middletons have been made to feel right at home in Scotland. On Saturday, Carole was spotted being driven around the estate by the Queen herself as the pair made their way back from a grouse shoot together, chatting amiably as the monarch pointed out beauty spots to her companion.

middletons© Photo: Getty Images

Carole and Michael Middleton have joined the royal family at Balmoral

It came just a few hours after the Queen was seen driving Kate to meet up with Prince William for a picnic lunch on the hills above Lake Muick. Her Majesty and Kate looked to be in good spirits as they enjoyed their trip together. The 90-year-old monarch was dressed in a blue shirt and khaki sleeveless jacket while the Duchess looked ready for autumn in a brown winter coat and orange and brown patterned scarf, leaving her long brunette locks loose.

On Sunday, Carole and Michael were then invited to join he royal family as they headed out to church near Balmoral, the Queen's summer residence. While the monarch and Prince Philip rode in the back of their own chauffeured car, William opted to drive Kate to the service himself. Like his son, Prince Charles also took the wheel as he travelled to the church with his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

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The Queen was seen driving Kate around her Scottish estate on Saturday

William and Kate arrived in Scotland on Thursday with their two children, three-year-old Prince George and one-year-old Princess Charlotte. The family spent some time at Prince Charles' Birkhall home before travelling to Balmoral to stay with the Queen and Prince Philip.

Princess Anne is also currently residing at the estate after she was forced to cancel her royal engagements to recover from a bad chest infection, and it is thought that Prince Harry might also join the royal family in Balmoral after returning from a six-week charity trip to Africa on Thursday.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expected to return to England this week, ahead of their highly-anticipated week-long tour of Canada.

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