The Queen wasted no time in kicking off her summer holiday on Wednesday, leaving her home in London just hours after she received the UK's new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. The Royal Standard at Buckingham Palace was lowered in the afternoon, signalling that the 93-year-old monarch was no longer in residence. The Royal Standard flag is only flown when the Queen is present; when she is absent, it is replaced by the Union Flag.
It's highly likely that the Queen headed straight to her holiday home, Balmoral estate in Scotland. The sovereign usually spends two months in the Scottish Highlands and doesn't return to London until September. She stays in a seven-bedroom stone house on her estate, Craigowan Lodge, while Balmoral Castle is open to tourists until August.
The Queen received Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Buckingham Palace
The Queen carries out the odd engagement over the summer, including attending the annual Braemar Gathering in early September. The event, which Her Majesty is known to thoroughly enjoy, features traditional highland games such as tug-of-war and stone-throwing, as well as highland dancing and pipe band performances. Royal watchers can also catch a glimpse of the Queen when she attends Sunday church at nearby Crathie Kirk.
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The Queen spends the summer at Balmoral Castle
Balmoral is where the Queen and her family can truly relax and be themselves. It's quite usual for visitors to see Prince Philip grilling sausages over a barbeque. Picnics, home cinema evenings, games and bracing walks are all laid on. The Queen's granddaughter Princess Eugenie has previously opened up about how her grandparents love spending time in Scotland, and how Her Majesty is always happiest at Balmoral.
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"Walks, picnics, dogs – a lot of dogs, there's always dogs – and people coming in and out all the time. It's a lovely base for Granny and Grandpa, for us to come and see them up there; where you just have room to breathe and run," Princess Eugenie said on ITV documentary, Our Queen At Ninety. "It's the most beautiful place on earth," she added. "I think Granny is the most happy there. I think she really, really loves the Highlands."
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