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Royals in Scotland: Palaces, paparazzi and garden parties

A peek into how the Royal family has connections to all walks of Scottish life, right across the country.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Quality image.

The Queen is visiting Edinburgh and Glasgow this week, but what do you know about the Royal family in Scotland?

While their official visit itinerary has been made public, the Royals have a lot more going on in Scotland than the annual week-long holiday - known as Holyrood Week.

From restoring and exhibiting some of the country's most important artworks to falling in love in our educational establishments, the Royal family is connected to Scottish life and culture in many ways.

So where do they go and what do they do? Of course we'll never know everything, but below is a round-up of some of what we do know; from private retreats to museum pieces and even Prince Charles' favourite affordable housing scheme.

Residences around Scotland

Holyrood Palace


Every summer the Queen heads to Edinburgh to take up residence in the state-owned Palace of Holyroodhouse. The trip sees HRH hosting dinners, engagements and a garden party - with a weather-proof marquee for the typically unpredictable weather.


There are three private Royal residences in Abderdeenshire: Balmoral Castle, Craigowan Lodge and Delnadamph Lodge.

Home to the Royals since 1848 when it was purchased by Queen Victoria, Balmoral Castle is said to be the family favourite. The Queen was in residence there when Princes Diana died in 1997.

The estate was used by the cast and crew of 2006 film The Queen, starring Helen Mirren. However substitute locations including Blairquhan Castle were used for much of the recording.

In Balmoral's grounds is Craigowan Lodge, a seven-bedroom house often used by the Queen in the first few days of her summer holiday.

The original 1860 Delnadamph Lodge, close to the River Don, was demolished in 1988 and is currently being rebuilt for the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. The couple also regularly visit the privately owned Birkhall House beside the River Muick, where they spent their second honeymoon in 2005.


Had Prince William not gone to St Andrews University, the chances are we may never have had last year's Royal Wedding. He met Catherine Middleton, now Duchess of Cambridge, at the Fife university town in 2001 and the pair were engaged by 2010. They attended the same history of art lectures and had rooms in the same hall of residence.

William and Kate

Building houses

While the Royal family has plenty of its own property to retreat to (see above), efforts are well underway to give something back.

The Knockroon development in an attempt at building a village from scratch in Ayrshire. Driven by The Prince's Trust, the project featured in a recent documentary 'Prince Charles: The Royal Restoration' which can be viewed on the STV Player.

Prince Charles recently took time out of his visits to Knockroon to visit families who featured in controversial TV documentary The Scheme and read the weather.

On the waves

Edinburgh is the permanent home of the Royal Yacht Britannia, which is moored beside Ocean Terminal. It currently features a special Jubilee exhibition, as 2012 also marks the 60th anniversary of the laying down of Britannia's keel.

A treasure trove of art, here in Scotland

When it comes to art, the Queen is doing her bit to protect some of Europe's most important works. The Royal Collection has a treasure trove of work from the Queen's palaces, and it's currently on display at The Queen's Gallery at Holyroodhouse.

Showing until 4 November, highlights include paintings by Rembrandt, Canaletto and Nash, drawings by Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Holbein, and Imperial Easter Eggs by Faberge. Most of the works are being shown in Scotland for the first time. More details here.

A special Jubilee exhibition showcasing ten drawings by Leonardo da Vinci will be on display at Dundee's McManus Art Gallery and Museum between 31 August and 4 November. More details here.

Celebrating the press

It's well documented that press photographers have played a big part in the recent history of the Royal family.

The Queen has been photographed many millions of times, but just 60 pictures have made it to an exhibition due to go on show in November this year. The Queen: 60 Photographs for 60 Years showcases the work of leading press snappers across six decades to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee. The exhibition goes on display between 16 November to 24 February at Holyroodhouse.

The Queen’s Gallery hosts various exhibitions from the Royal collection. Based at Holyrood, it was opened by Her Majesty on 29 November 2002, as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations. It was built at the entrance to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in the shell of the former Holyrood Free Church and Duchess of Gordon’s School.

Princess Anne

Supporting Scottish rugby

The Princess Royal is patron of the Scottish Rugby Union, and has been a supporter of the national team through thick and thin. She also makes a point of singing Flower of Scotland during the national anthems.

Contacting the Queen

It almost goes without saying that you're unlikely to randomly bump into the Queen while she visits Scotland. But the Royal household does encourage you to contact her. There's a whole webpage dedicated to it.

Have you ever met a member of the Royal family during a Scottish visit? Do you have pictures of the occasion? Drop us a line with your story and we can share it with our users.

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