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The Queen and Prince Philip interrupt Balmoral break to undertake joint engagement

The monarch spends her summers in Scotland

Andrea Caamano

The Queen and her family are currently enjoying their summer holidays up in their Scottish retreat, but it seems Her Majesty still has time for official duties – and this time she was joined by her husband Prince Philip, who retired from public life back in 2017.

According to the Court Circular, which is the official record of past royal engagements, the monarch and Prince Philip took on royal duties on Monday afternoon, receiving Mr Paul Hughes and investing him with the Insignia of a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order.

The Queen and Prince Philip pictured at Balmoral in 1976

Back in 2009, Paul, who was the chief clerk and accountant of The Duke of Edinburgh's Household, received the Royal Victorian Order (MVO), which recognises distinguished personal service to the order's Sovereign, the reigning monarch of the Commonwealth realms, any members of their family, or any of their viceroys. The recent award is of a higher rank (LVO).

MORE: This is how the Queen and the royal family spend their summer holiday in Scotland

The Queen has been in her favourite summer retreat since 6 August. Since then she has been pictured several times attending church with members of her family, including her sons Prince Charles and Prince Andrew as well as the Countess of Wessex and her children, Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn.

The Queen and Prince Andrew pictured heading to church

The monarch has also received Prince Andrew's former wife, Sarah Ferguson, and her two daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, who previously described the stately home as "the most beautiful place on earth". Sarah's visit, however, was short as she only stayed in the 18th century property for a weekend.

It is well known that the Queen adores her summer months in Balmoral, and during her holidays she is able to fully relax. Her granddaughter Eugenie opened up the family's special times in Scotland during a rare interview where she revealed just how much Balmoral means to her grandmother.

READ: The Queen and Prince Philip give rare glimpse of Balmoral Castle

"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," Eugenie said during an appearance on ITV's 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."