It's no secret that Balmoral holds a very special place in the Queen's heart. Her Majesty is said to be her "most happy" when at her Scottish residence, according to her granddaughter Princess Eugenie, not least because she feels she can be herself in complete privacy.
The extent of that sentiment has now been revealed by former royal butler, Paul Burrell, who has disclosed that the 94-year-old monarch even takes on household chores while staying in the Highlands.
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Speaking on Vicky Pattison's The Secret podcast, Paul shared that while the Queen doesn't cook her own meals, she is perfectly happy to don some gloves and tackle the washing up!
"She does like to go on picnics, but the food is all prepared," he said. "She likes to wash up. She puts on the Marigolds and when she goes out to the log cabin at Balmoral, she is stood there with her Marigolds on and she washes up and the lady-in-waiting dries."
The Queen is said to be her happiest at Balmoral
Paul went on to speak about the monarch's eating habits, and praised her "great self-discipline". "The Queen only ever eats very little portions," he shared. "She doesn't eat a Christmas dinner like we do where it is piled high and you can't see each other across the table.
"If you say anything about the Queen, I think the most important thing to say is she has something which the rest of them don't – she has great self-discipline."
The monarch and Prince Philip pictured at their Scottish estate in 1972
The Queen and her husband, 99-year-old Prince Philip, traditionally spend the Christmas period at another one of the beloved residences, Sandringham in Norfolk.
The couple invite their closest family members to join them for their celebrations; in the past, these have included the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, the Duke of York, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, the Princess Royal and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
The Queen is traditionally joined by members of her family for Christmas
However, it is not yet known where her Majesty will see in the festive season given the ongoing pandemic. Like the rest of the nation, she will have to think carefully about who to have in her Christmas bubble and whether it will be wise to even have visitors at Sandringham.
Her Majesty is currently residing at Windsor Castle where she is being looked after by a reduced number of staff dubbed HMS Bubble. Rules would permit the monarch and Prince Philip to move to Sandringham during the five-day period.
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