Balmoral Castle
Overview
 
Balmoral Castle b is a large estate house in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire
Aberdeenshire
Aberdeenshire is one of the 32 unitary council areas in Scotland and a lieutenancy area.The present day Aberdeenshire council area does not include the City of Aberdeen, now a separate council area, from which its name derives. Together, the modern council area and the city formed historic...

, Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

. It is located near the village of Crathie, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) west of Ballater
Ballater
Ballater is a burgh in Aberdeenshire, Scotland on the River Dee, immediately east of the Cairngorm Mountains. Situated at a height of 123m in elevation, Ballater is a centre for hikers and known for its spring water, once said to cure scrofula.-History:The medieval pattern of development along...

 and 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) east of Braemar
Braemar
Braemar is a village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, around west of Aberdeen in the Highlands. It is the closest significantly-sized settlement to the upper course of the River Dee sitting at an altitude of ....

. Balmoral has been one of the residences of the British Royal Family
British Royal Family
The British Royal Family is the group of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom. The term is also commonly applied to the same group of people as the relations of the monarch in her or his role as sovereign of any of the other Commonwealth realms, thus sometimes at variance with...

 since 1852, when it was purchased by Queen Victoria
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

 and her consort
Prince consort
A prince consort is the husband of a queen regnant who is not himself a king in his own right.Current examples include the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh , and Prince Henrik of Denmark .In recognition of his status, a prince consort may be given a formal...

, Prince Albert. It remains the private property of the monarch, and is not part of the Crown Estate
Crown Estate
In the United Kingdom, the Crown Estate is a property portfolio owned by the Crown. Although still belonging to the monarch and inherent with the accession of the throne, it is no longer the private property of the reigning monarch and cannot be sold by him/her, nor do the revenues from it belong...

.

Soon after the estate was purchased the existing house was found to be too small.
Encyclopedia
Balmoral Castle b is a large estate house in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire
Aberdeenshire
Aberdeenshire is one of the 32 unitary council areas in Scotland and a lieutenancy area.The present day Aberdeenshire council area does not include the City of Aberdeen, now a separate council area, from which its name derives. Together, the modern council area and the city formed historic...

, Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

. It is located near the village of Crathie, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) west of Ballater
Ballater
Ballater is a burgh in Aberdeenshire, Scotland on the River Dee, immediately east of the Cairngorm Mountains. Situated at a height of 123m in elevation, Ballater is a centre for hikers and known for its spring water, once said to cure scrofula.-History:The medieval pattern of development along...

 and 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) east of Braemar
Braemar
Braemar is a village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, around west of Aberdeen in the Highlands. It is the closest significantly-sized settlement to the upper course of the River Dee sitting at an altitude of ....

. Balmoral has been one of the residences of the British Royal Family
British Royal Family
The British Royal Family is the group of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom. The term is also commonly applied to the same group of people as the relations of the monarch in her or his role as sovereign of any of the other Commonwealth realms, thus sometimes at variance with...

 since 1852, when it was purchased by Queen Victoria
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

 and her consort
Prince consort
A prince consort is the husband of a queen regnant who is not himself a king in his own right.Current examples include the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh , and Prince Henrik of Denmark .In recognition of his status, a prince consort may be given a formal...

, Prince Albert. It remains the private property of the monarch, and is not part of the Crown Estate
Crown Estate
In the United Kingdom, the Crown Estate is a property portfolio owned by the Crown. Although still belonging to the monarch and inherent with the accession of the throne, it is no longer the private property of the reigning monarch and cannot be sold by him/her, nor do the revenues from it belong...

.

Soon after the estate was purchased the existing house was found to be too small. It was demolished, and the current Balmoral Castle was completed in 1856. The architect was William Smith
William Smith (architect)
William Smith was a Scottish architect. A partner in the Aberdonian firms J & W Smith , W & J Smith and W & J Smith and Kelly , and employed as Aberdeen's superintendent of works , he designed a large number of buildings in north east Scotland.Smith was a prolific designer of manses,...

 of Aberdeen, although his designs were amended by Prince Albert. The castle is an example of Scots Baronial architecture, and is now protected as a category A listed building.

The Balmoral Estate has been added to by successive members of the Royal Family, and now covers an area of about 20000 hectares (49,421 acre). It is a working estate, including grouse moors
Red grouse
The Red Grouse is a medium sized bird of the grouse family which is found in heather moorland in Great Britain and Ireland. It is usually classified as a subspecies of the Willow Grouse but is sometimes considered to be a separate species Lagopus scoticus...

, forestry and farmland, as well as managed herds of deer, Highland cattle
Highland cattle
Highland cattle or kyloe are a Scottish breed of beef cattle with long horns and long wavy coats which are coloured black, brindled, red, yellow or dun....

 and ponies.

History

King Robert II
Robert II of Scotland
Robert II became King of Scots in 1371 as the first monarch of the House of Stewart. He was the son of Walter Stewart, hereditary High Steward of Scotland and of Marjorie Bruce, daughter of Robert I and of his first wife Isabella of Mar...

 of Scotland (1316–1390) had a hunting lodge
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

 in the area. A house at Balmoral was built by Sir William Drummond in 1390. The estate is recorded in 1451 as "Bouchmorale", and was later tenanted by Alexander Gordon, second son of the 1st Earl of Huntly
Alexander Gordon, 1st Earl of Huntly
Alexander Seton , 1st Earl of Huntly was a powerful 15th century Scottish magnate. He was knighted in 1439/40 and was Lord of Badenoch, & Cluny....

. A tower house was built on the estate by the Gordons. In 1662 the estate passed to Charles Farquharson of Inverey
Inverey
Inverey is a hamlet on Mar Lodge Estate, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland that straddles the Ey Burn close to its confluence with the River Dee.Inverey comprises two 'communities' separated by the Ey Burn - Muckle Inverey on the east bank and Little Inverey on the west.-John Farquharson, 3rd of...

, brother of John Farquharson, the "Black Colonel". The Farquharsons were Jacobite
Jacobitism
Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...

 sympathisers, and James Farquharson of Balmoral was involved in both the 1715 and 1745 rebellions, and was wounded at the Battle of Falkirk
Battle of Falkirk (1746)
During the Second Jacobite Rising, the Battle of Falkirk Muir was the last noteworthy Jacobite success.-Background:...

 in 1746. His estates were forfeit
Forfeit
- In sport :* Forfeit * Forfeit , defeat in a chess game by a player being absent or out of time* Declaration and forfeiture, in cricket, two possible ends of an innings- In law :...

, and passed to the Farquharsons of Auchendryne
Braemar
Braemar is a village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, around west of Aberdeen in the Highlands. It is the closest significantly-sized settlement to the upper course of the River Dee sitting at an altitude of ....

. In 1798, James Duff, 2nd Earl Fife
James Duff, 2nd Earl Fife
James Duff, 2nd Earl Fife was a Scottish Earl, Baron and Minister of Parliament.-Heritage:James Duff was second son of William Duff, 1st Earl Fife, and Jean Grant , his fathers second wife. His father, son of William Duff of Dipple, co. Banff, was M.P...

, acquired Balmoral, and leased the castle. Sir Robert Gordon, a younger son of the 3rd Earl of Aberdeen
George Gordon, 3rd Earl of Aberdeen
George Gordon, 3rd Earl of Aberdeen , styled Lord Haddo until 1745, was a Scottish peer. He sat in the House of Lords as a Scottish Representative Peer from 1747 to 1761, and from 1774 to 1790...

, acquired the lease in 1830 and made major alterations to the castle, with baronial-style extensions designed by John Smith of Aberdeen.

Royal acquisition

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert first visited Scotland in 1842, five years after her accession and two years after their marriage. They stayed at Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, and at Taymouth Castle
Taymouth Castle
Taymouth Castle is situated just north-east of the village of Kenmore, Perth and Kinross in the Highlands of Scotland.It stands on the site of the much older Balloch Castle , which was demolished to be rebuilt on a much larger scale in the early 19th century by the Campbells of Breadalbane.It was...

 in Perthshire
Perthshire
Perthshire, officially the County of Perth , is a registration county in central Scotland. It extends from Strathmore in the east, to the Pass of Drumochter in the north, Rannoch Moor and Ben Lui in the west, and Aberfoyle in the south...

, the home of the Marquess of Breadalbane
John Campbell, 2nd Marquess of Breadalbane
John Campbell, 2nd Marquess of Breadalbane KT, PC, FRS , styled Lord Glenorchy until 1831 and as Earl of Ormelie from 1831 to 1834, was a Scottish nobleman and Liberal politician.-Background and education:...

. They returned in 1844 to stay at Blair Castle
Blair Castle
Blair Castle stands in its grounds near the village of Blair Atholl in Perthshire in Scotland. It is the home of the Clan Murray family, who hold the title of Duke of Atholl, though the current Duke, John Murray, lives in South Africa....

, and in 1847 when they rented Ardverikie by Loch Laggan
Loch Laggan
Loch Laggan is a freshwater loch situated east of Fort William, in Lochaber, Highland, Scotland. The A86 road from Spean Bridge to Kingussie follows along its north bank...

. The latter trip was extremely rainy, which led Sir James Clark, the Queen's physician, to recommend Deeside
Deeside
For Strathdee in Scotland see River Dee, AberdeenshireDeeside is the name given to the predominantly industrial conurbation of towns and villages that lie on, or near the River Dee in Chester. These include, Connah's Quay, Mancot, Pentre, Shotton, Queensferry, Sealand, Broughton, Hawarden,...

 for its more healthy climate.

Sir Robert Gordon died in 1847, and the lease on Balmoral reverted to Lord Aberdeen. In February 1848 it was decided that Prince Albert would acquire the remaining part of the lease on Balmoral, together with its furniture and staff, and the couple arrived for their first visit on 8 September 1848. Victoria found the house "small but pretty", and recorded in her diary that: "All seemed to breathe freedom and peace, and to make one forget the world and its sad turmoils".

The house was quickly found to be too small, and John and William Smith were commissioned in 1848 to design new offices, cottages and other ancillary buildings. Improvements to the woodlands, gardens and estate buildings were also being made, assisted by the landscape gardener James Beattie and the painter James Giles. After seeing a corrugated iron cottage at the Great Exhibition of 1851, Prince Albert ordered a pre-fabricated iron building for Balmoral from E. T. Bellhouse & Co., to serve as a temporary ballroom and dining room. It was in use by 1 October 1851, and served as a ballroom until completion of the new ballroom in 1856. Major additions to the old house were considered in 1849, but by then negotiations were underway to purchase the estate from the trustees of the deceased Earl Fife. The sale was completed in November 1851, the price being £32,000, and Prince Albert formally took possession the following autumn. The neighbouring estate of Birkhall
Birkhall
Birkhall is a 53,000 acre  estate on Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It is alongside the River Muick to the southwest of Ballater....

 was bought at the same time, and the lease on Abergeldie
Abergeldie Castle
Abergeldie Castle is a four-storey tower house located near Crathie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It is protected as a category A listed building.-History:...

 secured.

Construction of the new house

The programme of improvement culminated during early 1852 with the decision to commission a new, larger house, from William Smith. The son of John Smith, designer of the earlier castle, William Smith was City Architect of Aberdeen
Aberdeen
Aberdeen is Scotland's third most populous city, one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom's 25th most populous city, with an official population estimate of ....

 from 1852. On learning of the commission, William Burn
William Burn
William Burn was a Scottish architect, pioneer of the Scottish Baronial style.He was born in Edinburgh, the son of architect Robert Burn, and educated at the Royal High School. After training with the architect of the British Museum, Sir Robert Smirke, he returned to Edinburgh in 1812...

 sought an interview with the Prince, apparently to complain that Smith had plagiarised his work in the past. However, Burn was unsuccessful in depriving Smith of the appointment. William Smith's designs were amended by Prince Albert, who took a close interest in details such as turrets and windows. Construction began during summer 1853, on a site some 100 metres (328.1 ft) north-west of the original building, which was considered to have a better outlook. Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone on 28 September 1853, during the annual autumn visit. By the autumn of 1855, the royal apartments were ready, though the tower was still under construction and the servants had to be lodged in the old house. The new house was completed in 1856, and the old castle was subsequently demolished.

Balmoral Castle is built from granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

 quarried at Invergelder on the estate, and comprises two main blocks, each arranged around a courtyard. The south-western block contains the main rooms, while the north-eastern contains the service wings. At the south-east is a 24.5 metres (80.4 ft) tall clock tower topped with turrets, one of which has a balustrade similar to a feature at Castle Fraser
Castle Fraser
Castle Fraser is the most elaborate Z-plan castle in Scotland and one of the grandest 'Castles of Mar'. It is located near Kemnay in the Aberdeenshire region of Scotland. The castle stands in over of landscaped grounds, woodland and farmland which includes a walled kitchen garden of the 19th...

. The architecture of the new house is considered to be somewhat dated for its time, being similar in style to the demolished castle of the 1830s, in contrast to the richer forms of Scots Baronial being developed by William Burn and others during the 1850s. As an exercise in Scots Baronial, it is sometimes described as being too ordered, pedantic, and even Germanic
Architecture of Germany
The architecture of Germany has a long, rich and diverse history. It is characterized by a high degree of regional diversity, caused by centuries of fragmentation of Germany into principalities and kingdoms. This made for a heterogeneous and diverse architectural style, with architectural...

, as a result of Prince Albert's influence on the design. However, the purchase of a Scottish estate by Victoria and Albert, and their adoption of Scottish architectural style, was very influential for the ongoing revival of Highland culture. The royals decorated Balmoral with tartans and attended highland games
Highland games
Highland games are events held throughout the &Highland games are events held throughout the &Highland games are events held throughout the &(-è_çà in Scotland and other countries as a way of celebrating Scottish and Celtic culture and heritage, especially that of the Scottish Highlands. Certain...

 at Braemar; Queen Victoria expressed an affinity for Scotland, even professing herself to be a Jacobite
Jacobitism
Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...

. Added to the work of Sir Walter Scott, this was a major factor in promoting the adoption of Highland culture by Lowland Scotlanders. Historian Michael Lynch comments that "the Scottishness of Balmoral helped to give the monarchy a truly British dimension for the first time".

Victoria and Albert at Balmoral

Even before the completion of the new house, the pattern of the royal couple's life in the Highlands was soon established. Albert spent many days shooting deer and game, while Victoria took long walks of up to four hours daily. In 1849 the diarist Charles Greville described their life at Balmoral as like that of gentry rather than royalty. Victoria began a policy of commissioning artists to record Balmoral, its surroundings and its staff. Over the years, numerous painters were employed at Balmoral, including Edwin and Charles Landseer, Carl Haag
Carl Haag
Carl Haag was a German-born painter who became a naturalized British citizen, and court painter to the duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha....

, William Wyld
William Wyld
William Wyld was an English painter.-Life:Born to a family that had produced rich merchants for several generations, he gained a pronounced taste for drawing very young. On the death of a young uncle after a fall from a horse when William was aged 6, William inherited his drawing materials...

, William Henry Fisk
William Henry Fisk
William Henry Fisk , was an English painter and drawing-master.Fisk was the son of William Fisk. He was a pupil of his father, and also a student of the Royal Academy. He was a skilled draughtsman, and as such was appointed anatomical draughtsman to the Royal College of Surgeons. In painting he was...

, and many others. The couple took great interest in their staff, and set up a lending library. During the 1850s, new plantations were established around the house, and exotic conifers were planted in the grounds. Prince Albert had an active role in these improvements, overseeing the design of parterre
Parterre
A parterre is a formal garden construction on a level surface consisting of planting beds, edged in stone or tightly clipped hedging, and gravel paths arranged to form a pleasing, usually symmetrical pattern. Parterres need not have any flowers at all...

s, the diversion the main road north of the river via a new bridge, and plans for farm buildings. These included a model dairy
Model Farm
A model farm was an 18th–19th century experimental farm, which researched and demonstrated improvements in agricultural techniques, efficiency, and building layout. Education and commitment to improving welfare standards of workers were also aspects of the ideal farm movement...

 which he developed during 1861, the year of his death. It was completed by Victoria, who subsequently built several monuments to her husband on the estate. These included an obelisk, and a large statue of Albert by William Theed
William Theed
William Theed, also known as William Theed, the younger was an English sculptor, the son of the sculptor and painter William Theed the elder . Although versatile and eclectic in his works, he specialised in portraiture, and his services were extensively used by the Royal Family.-Career:Theed was...

, inaugurated in 1867.

After Albert's death, Victoria spent increasing periods at Balmoral, staying up to four months a year during early summer and autumn. Few further changes were made to the grounds, with the exception of the monuments and cottages built during the remainder of the 19th century. It was during this period that Victoria began to depend on her servant John Brown
John Brown (servant)
John Brown was a Scottish personal servant and favourite of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom for many years. He was appreciated by many for his competence and companionship, and resented by others for his influence and informal manner...

, a local ghillie from Crathie who became one of her closest companions during her long mourning. Balmoral Castle was the birthplace of Victoria Eugenie of Spain, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria.

In September 1896, Victoria welcomed Emperor Nicholas II of Russia
Nicholas II of Russia
Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia, Grand Prince of Finland, and titular King of Poland. His official short title was Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias and he is known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church.Nicholas II ruled from 1894 until...

 and Empress Alexandra to Balmoral. Four years later Victoria made her last visit, three months before her death on 22 January 1901.

After Victoria

After Victoria's death, the royal family continued to use Balmoral during annual autumn visits. George V
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

 had substantial improvements done during the 1910s and 1920s, including formal gardens to the south of the castle.

Balmoral is a private property and, unlike the monarch's official residence
Official residence
An official residence is the residence at which heads of state, heads of government, gubernatorial or other senior figures officially reside...

s, is not part of the state-owned Crown Estate
Crown Estate
In the United Kingdom, the Crown Estate is a property portfolio owned by the Crown. Although still belonging to the monarch and inherent with the accession of the throne, it is no longer the private property of the reigning monarch and cannot be sold by him/her, nor do the revenues from it belong...

. Ownership of Balmoral, along with Sandringham House
Sandringham House
Sandringham House is a country house on of land near the village of Sandringham in Norfolk, England. The house is privately owned by the British Royal Family and is located on the royal Sandringham Estate, which lies within the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.-History and current...

 in Norfolk, was inherited by Edward VIII
Edward VIII of the United Kingdom
Edward VIII was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth, and Emperor of India, from 20 January to 11 December 1936.Before his accession to the throne, Edward was Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay...

 on his accession in 1936. However, when he abdicated
Edward VIII abdication crisis
In 1936, a constitutional crisis in the British Empire was caused by King-Emperor Edward VIII's proposal to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American socialite....

 later the same year, he retained ownership. A financial settlement was devised, under which Balmoral and Sandringham passed to his brother, George VI
George VI of the United Kingdom
George VI was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death...

.

Since the 1950s, Prince Philip
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is the husband of Elizabeth II. He is the United Kingdom's longest-serving consort and the oldest serving spouse of a reigning British monarch....

 has also added herbaceous borders and a water garden. During the 1980s new staff buildings were built close to the castle.

The estate

Balmoral Estate is within the Cairngorms National Park
Cairngorms National Park
The Cairngorms National Park is a national park in north east Scotland, established in 2003. It was the second of two national parks established by the Scottish Parliament, after Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, set up in 2002. The park covers the Cairngorms range of mountains, and...

, and is partly within the Deeside and Lochnagar National Scenic Area
National Scenic Area
National Scenic Area is a designation for areas of natural beauty used by more than one nation.* National Scenic Area * National Scenic Area * National scenic areas in Taiwan* National Scenic Area...

. The 20000 hectares (49,421 acre) estate contains a wide variety of landscapes, from the Dee Valley
River Dee, Aberdeenshire
The River Dee is a river in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It rises in the Cairngorms and flows through Strathdee to reach the North Sea at Aberdeen...

 to open mountains. There are seven Munro
Munro
A Munro is a mountain in Scotland with a height over . They are named after Sir Hugh Munro, 4th Baronet , who produced the first list of such hills, known as Munros Tables, in 1891. A Munro top is a summit over 3,000 ft which is not regarded as a separate mountain...

s (hills in Scotland over 3000 feet (914.4 m)) in the estate, the highest being Lochnagar
Lochnagar
Lochnagar or Beinn Chìochan is a mountain in the Grampians of Scotland, located about five miles south of the River Dee near Balmoral.-Names:...

 at 1155 metres (3,789.4 ft). The mountain was the setting for a children's story, The Old Man of Lochnagar
The Old Man of Lochnagar
The Old Man of Lochnagar is a children's book written by Prince Charles and illustrated by Sir Hugh Casson.The story of the old man of Lochnagar was one Prince Charles had told some years earlier to entertain his brothers, Andrew and Edward, when they were young. The book was published in 1980 in...

, told originally by Prince Charles
Charles, Prince of Wales
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is the heir apparent and eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Since 1958 his major title has been His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. In Scotland he is additionally known as The Duke of Rothesay...

 to his younger brothers, Andrew
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Prince Andrew, Duke of York KG GCVO , is the second son, and third child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

 and Edward
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex KG GCVO is the third son and fourth child of Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh...

, and published in 1980 with royalties accruing to The Prince's Trust
The Prince's Trust
The Prince's Trust is a charity in the United Kingdom founded in 1976 by Charles, Prince of Wales to help young people. They run a range of training programmes, provide mentoring support and offer financial grants to build the confidence and motivation of disadvantaged young people...

.

The areas of Lochnagar and Ballochbuie were designated in 1998 by the Secretary of State for Scotland
Secretary of State for Scotland
The Secretary of State for Scotland is the principal minister of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom with responsibilities for Scotland. He heads the Scotland Office , a government department based in London and Edinburgh. The post was created soon after the Union of the Crowns, but was...

 as Special Protection Areas (SPA) under the European Union (EU) Birds Directive
Birds Directive
The Birds Directive is a European Union directive adopted in 2009. It replaces Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds which was modified several times and had become very unclear...

. Ballochbuie is also protected as a Special Area of Conservation
Special Area of Conservation
A Special Area of Conservation is defined in the European Union's Habitats Directive , also known as the Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora...

 by the EU Habitats Directive, as "one of the largest remaining continuous areas of native Caledonian Forest
Caledonian Forest
The Caledonian Forest is the name of a type of woodland that once covered vast areas of Scotland. Today, however, only 1% of the original forest survives, covering in 84 locations. The forests are home to a wide variety of wildlife, much of which is not found elsewhere in the British...

". In addition, there are four Sites of Special Scientific Interest
Site of Special Scientific Interest
A Site of Special Scientific Interest is a conservation designation denoting a protected area in the United Kingdom. SSSIs are the basic building block of site-based nature conservation legislation and most other legal nature/geological conservation designations in Great Britain are based upon...

 on the estate.

In 1931, the castle gardens were first opened to the public, and are now open daily between April and the end of July, after which the Queen arrives for her annual stay. The ballroom is the only room in the castle which can be viewed by the public.

The Royal Family employs about 50 full-time and 50–100 part-time staff to maintain the working estate. A malt whisky
Single malt whisky
Single malt whisky is a whisky made at one particular distillery from a mash that uses one particular malted grain, which is ordinarily barley.Single malts are typically associated with Scotland, though they are also produced in various other countries...

 distillery located on the Balmoral Estate produces the Royal Lochnagar Single Malt
Royal Lochnagar Single Malt
Royal Lochnagar is a single malt Scotch whisky, produced at Lochnagar, Royal Deeside, in the Highland whisky producing area of Scotland.The first Lochnagar distillery was burnt down in suspicious circumstances in 1824 and a replacement again burnt down in 1841. In 1845 John Begg built the "new"...

 whisky.

In 2005, it was suggested that Balmoral would realize at least £14 million if it were sold on the private market.

Other properties on the estate include Birkhall
Birkhall
Birkhall is a 53,000 acre  estate on Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It is alongside the River Muick to the southwest of Ballater....

, formerly home to Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, and used now by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall for their summer holidays. Craigowan Lodge is used regularly by the Queen's friends and family, and has also been used by the Queen while Balmoral Castle is being prepared. Six smaller properties on the estate are let as holiday cottage
Holiday cottage
A holiday cottage is a cottage used for accommodation, which has become common in the United Kingdom and Canada. They are typically small homes that vacationers can rent and run as if it were their own home for the duration of their stay. This gives them the freedom to eat in, eat out, stay in bed...

s.

Craigowan Lodge

Craigowan Lodge is a seven-bedroom stone house about a mile from the main castle in Balmoral.

It is more rustic than the castle, and was often the home of Charles and Diana when they visited. Now it is usually a home for very important guests.

In the obituary of Michael Andreevich Romanoff: the highest ranking member of the Russian imperial family who died in 2008, it was noted that his family spent most of WWII at Craigowan Lodge.

The Lodge has been in the news periodically since 2005, because the Queen often spends the first few days of her summer vacation in the lodge. Each weekend in the summer it is a lucrative source of income due to tourists visiting the castle, and in an effort to keep revenues high there is some overlap.

In popular culture

The Queen was in residence at Balmoral at the time of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales
Death of Diana, Princess of Wales
On 31 August 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, died as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris, France. Her companion, Dodi Fayed, and the driver of the Mercedes-Benz W140, Henri Paul, were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Fayed's...

 in 1997. Her initial decision not to return to London or to mourn more publicly was much criticised at the time by the London media. Her private discussions with Prime Minister Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

 were dramatised in Stephen Frears
Stephen Frears
Stephen Arthur Frears is an English film director.-Early life:Frears was born in Leicester, England to Ruth M., a social worker, and Dr Russell E. Frears, a general practitioner and accountant. He did not find out that his mother was Jewish until he was in his late 20s...

' film The Queen
The Queen (film)
The Queen is a 2006 British drama film directed by Stephen Frears, written by Peter Morgan, and starring Helen Mirren as the title role, HM Queen Elizabeth II...

(2006). The 1997 film Mrs. Brown
Mrs. Brown
Mrs. Brown is a 1997 British drama film starring Judi Dench, Billy Connolly, Geoffrey Palmer, Antony Sher and Gerard Butler...

was also based on events at Balmoral, although in both films substitute locations were used: Blairquhan Castle
Blairquhan Castle
Blairquhan is a Regency-era castle near Maybole in South Ayrshire, Scotland. It is the historic home of the Hunter-Blair Baronets and remains in the family's possession...

 in The Queen; and Duns Castle
Duns Castle
Duns Castle, Duns, Berwickshire is a historic house in Scotland, the oldest part of which, the massive Norman Keep or Pele Tower, dates from 1320. The earlier house was transformed into a Gothic castle, 1818–22, by architect James Gillespie Graham. It is owned by the current Laird, Alexander Hay of...

 in Mrs Brown.

Banknotes

Since 1987 an illustration of the castle has featured on the reverse side of £100 notes issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland
Royal Bank of Scotland
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group is a British banking and insurance holding company in which the UK Government holds an 84% stake. This stake is held and managed through UK Financial Investments Limited, whose voting rights are limited to 75% in order for the bank to retain its listing on the...

.

External links

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