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20 incredible photos of the royals enjoying their summer holiday at Balmoral

The late Queen Elizabeth II spent every summer at the Scottish residence

AUGUST 16:  Prince Charles With Prince  William And Prince Harry Visit Glen Muick On The Balmoral Castle Estate
Francesca Shillcock
Francesca ShillcockSenior Features Writer
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Balmoral has been the resident of choice for senior members of the royal family over the summer months for many decades now, with the royal tradition beginning when Queen Victoria acquired the estate.

The late Queen Elizabeth II followed suit after visiting as a young Princess, a young mother and then as a monarch. The Scottish residence was also considered the late Queen's favourite, so it was even more poignant when she passed away at Balmoral in September 2022.

WATCH: The royal residences - a look inside

For the first summer following his mother's death, King Charles and Queen Camilla are reportedly set to follow in her tradition and host their family for the first time as monarchs. However, the King and Queen are not expected to spend as much time at the Scottish residence as Her Late Majesty enjoyed doing every year.  

In previous years, many other royals accompanied the late Queen and her late husband Prince Philip as they took breaks over the warmer months. Located in Royal Deeside in Aberdeenshire, the royal family has enjoyed fishing, long country walks, and the beautiful mountainous views it has to offer.

Along the way, many fascinating and insightful photographs have been taken on the grounds of the estate of the Queen and her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and, of course, her beloved corgis. Take a look through these photos to see some of the best photos from the Scottish residence...

The then-Cambridges join the Queen at Balmoral

In 2019, Prince William and Princess Kate, then the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, were pictured arriving at the Sunday church service in Balmoral with the Queen in August 2019. Kate, dressed in a navy outfit, waved to the waiting photographers as she accompanied Her Majesty in the back of the car.

Catherine, then-Duchess of Cambridge waves while she is driven to Crathie Kirk Church before the service on August 25, 2019 in Crathie, Aberdeenshire.© Duncan McGlynn
Catherine, then-Duchess of Cambridge waves while she is driven to Crathie Kirk Church before the service on August 25, 2019 in Crathie, Aberdeenshire.

The then-Wessexes attend a Balmoral garden party

The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, then the Earl and Countess of Wessex, joined the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at a garden party at Balmoral Castle in 2012, with Prince Edward and Prince Philip both donning tartan kilts for the occasion.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Edward,  Earl of Wessex walk with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (2nd left) on August 07, 2012 in Aberdeenshire, United Kingdom.© WPA Pool
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex walk with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (2nd left) on August 07, 2012 in Aberdeenshire, United Kingdom.

The Queen and Prince Philip relaxing

The Countess of Wessex took this informal snap of the late Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh relaxing together as they enjoyed the scenery at the Coyles of Muick in 2003. The previously unseen snap was released by Buckingham Palace ahead of Prince Philip's funeral in April 2021.

queen prince philip scotland© The Countess of Wessex

Prince William and Kate enjoy a family holiday

In 2015, Prince William and Kate were pictured with the Queen and Prince Philip at Balmoral when Princess Charlotte was just a few months old. The photo was shared by William and Kate to pay tribute to the late Duke after his passing in April 2021.

cambridges balmoral 2015© Buckingham Palace

The Queen and Prince Philip with their great-grandchildren

A rare photo of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh with seven of their great-grandchildren was taken at Balmoral in 2018. The monarch is holding Prince Louis, who was just a few months old, with his siblings, Prince George, and Princess Charlotte, standing on either side of their great-grandmother. Peter Phillips' daughters Savannah and Isla are close to their great-grandfather and at the other end of the sofa are Zara and Mike Tindall's children Lena, held by her cousin Isla, and his daughter Mia.

queen great grandchildren balmoral© Photo: Twitter

Prince Charles, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret

Balmoral has always been a residence that brings the royals together to spend quality time as a family. The idyllic and picturesque gardens have provided a wonderful place in particular for the royal children. Here, a young Prince Charles dips his hands into one of the fountains as his beloved grandmother, the Queen Mother, looks on with his aunt, Princess Margaret, who was then celebrating her 21st birthday.

Prince Charles with Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret Rose (1930 - 2002) in the grounds of Balmoral Castle on the Princess' 21st birthday.© Central Press
Prince Charles with Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret Rose (1930 - 2002) in the grounds of Balmoral Castle on the Princess' 21st birthday.

The Queen and Prince Philip's growing family

The Queen and Prince Philip enjoyed spending time at Balmoral as a growing family over the years. In this picture, taken in 1960, the then family-of-five is gathered on a picnic blanket in the castle gardens with a young Prince Charles, Princess Anne, and a seven-month-old Prince Andrew.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh with their children, Prince Andrew (centre), Princess Anne (left) and Charles, Prince of Wales sitting on a picnic rug outside Balmoral Castle in Scotland, 8th September 1960.© Bettmann
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh with their children, Prince Andrew (centre), Princess Anne (left) and Charles, Prince of Wales sitting on a picnic rug outside Balmoral Castle in Scotland, 8th September 1960.

The Queen and Philip take a trip to the farm

The Queen was a keen equestrian and rode horses even in her later years. It's no wonder, therefore, that when she holidays on the Scottish estate, a trip to the stables is always on the itinerary. This picture shows the Queen and Prince Philip's playful side as they visit a farm on the estate. The couple were that year (1972) celebrating their silver wedding anniversary.

queen and philip with horse balmoral

The Queen with a young Prince Charles and Princess Anne

As a mother of two, Balmoral afforded the Queen a place to spend quality time with her young children. A picture from 1952, shows Her Majesty as a relaxed and caring mother, while a young Princess Anne and Prince Charles sit next to their mother in the gardens of the castle, with a watchful corgi taking place above them.

queen charles anne corgi

The Queen and Prince Philip inside the residence

As well as enjoying the great outdoors, the royals spend time in the many historic drawing rooms in the castle. Here, in this image from 1975, the Queen and Philip relax with newspapers and a corgi nestled by their feet.

26th September 1976: Queen Elizabeth II with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, at Balmoral © Hulton Archive
26th September 1976: Queen Elizabeth II with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, at Balmoral

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, purchased Balmoral Castle in 1846 before it was redeveloped in the 1850s. The estate held a special place in Queen Victoria's heart and she often spent time there with her family, in particular after the death of Prince Albert in 1861. In this fascinating image from 1867, Queen Victoria stands outside the castle with her dog 'Sharp'.

Queen Victoria of Great Britain (1819 - 1901) at Balmoral Castle, Scotland, with her dog 'sharp'© W. and D. Downey
Queen Victoria of Great Britain (1819 - 1901) at Balmoral Castle, Scotland, with her dog 'sharp'

Prince Philip with sons Prince Edward and Prince Andrew

Prince Philip is seen sharing a joke with his sons, Prince Edward and Prince Andrew, at an event in Balmoral, Scotland as guards and members of the public look on. The image was taken in 1983, and proves that Prince Harry was not the first royal to sport facial hair!

Prince Philip With His Sons Prince Edward And Prince Andrew During Their Summer Holidays In Scotland© Tim Graham
Prince Philip With His Sons Prince Edward And Prince Andrew During Their Summer Holidays In Scotland

Young Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie attend Sunday service at Balmoral

As well as spending time together when they visit Balmoral, the royals attend church every Sunday as a family. This photograph shows young Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie in the car with their father, Prince Andrew, and grandparents, the Queen and Prince Philip, on their way to Sunday service at Crathie Church.

The Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Andrew And Princess Beatrice And Princess Eugenie  Travelling  To Sunday Service At Crathie Church, Balmoral  © Tim Graham
The Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Andrew And Princess Beatrice And Princess Eugenie Travelling To Sunday Service At Crathie Church, Balmoral

The Queen and corgis

Whether the Queen is travelling by plane or by train, her beloved corgis are always in tow. In 1969, the Queen alights the train with her four corgis on her return from the summer holidays at Balmoral. That same year, the Queen welcomed to Buckingham Palace the astronauts of Apollo 11, shortly after they walked on the moon.

queen and corgis

Prince Charles and Prince William

It's not just the Queen and her children who have been visiting the Scottish estate since they were children. Here, her young grandson Prince William climbs aboard the Queen's plane at Aberdeen airport after spending the summer there with his father, the Prince of Wales in 1984.

Prince William Arriving With Prince Charles At Aberdeen Airport For His Holiday At Balmoral Castle In Scotland in 1984© Tim Graham
Prince William Arriving With Prince Charles At Aberdeen Airport For His Holiday At Balmoral Castle In Scotland in 1984

The then-Duke and Duchess of Cornwall

In more recent years but before becoming monarchs, King Charles and Camilla paid regular visits to the Balmoral residence. In 2005, the newlyweds spent their first joint engagement as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay (as they were previously known in Scotland) there, and also enjoyed their honeymoon at the Scottish estate.

Then-Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, in their role as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay undertake their first joint official engagement opening Monaltrie Park children's playground in Ballater near Balmoral on April 14, 2005 in Aberdeenshire, Scotland© Tim Graham
Then-Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, in their role as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay undertake their first joint official engagement opening Monaltrie Park children's playground in Ballater near Balmoral on April 14, 2005 in Aberdeenshire, Scotland

King Charles, Prince William, and Prince Harry

As young Princes, William and Harry spent many summers in the picturesque Scottish estate with their father the Prince of Wales. In this photograph, taken in the summer of 1997, Prince Charles and his two sons enjoy a walk in Polvier, by the River Dee, with Prince Charles' Jack Russell dog, Tigga.

Then-Prince Charles In Kilt And Sporran And Shepherd's Crook Walking Stick With Prince William & Prince Harry At Polvier, By The River Dee, Balmoral Castle Estate in August 1997© Tim Graham
Then-Prince Charles In Kilt And Sporran And Shepherd's Crook Walking Stick With Prince William & Prince Harry At Polvier, By The River Dee, Balmoral Castle Estate in August 1997

Prince Philip, the Queen, then-Prince Charles and Camilla

The royals also often attended sporting events during the summer holidays at Balmoral. Here, the Queen, Prince Philip, and Prince Charles and Camilla laugh together while watching the Braemar Games Highland gathering, as their Balmoral team took part in a tug-of-war competition in 2006.

Then-Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh laugh at their Balmoral team in the tug of war competition at  the Braemar Games Highland gathering on September 2, 2006, Scotland © Tim Graham
Then-Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh laugh at their Balmoral team in the tug of war competition at the Braemar Games Highland gathering on September 2, 2006, Scotland

Diana, Princess of Wales, with a young Prince William and Prince Harry

Prince William and Prince Harry donned many a matching outfit as young children, and this trip to Balmoral in 1986 was no different. The young Princes disembark the Queen's plane at Aberdeen airport with their mother, the Princess of Wales.