It is not the first summer, but it is the first that he spends alone.
As every year, without even the pandemic having prevented it, Queen Elizabeth II is already at Balmoral Castle, her summer residence, to spend her first vacation without the Duke of Edinburgh, who died on April 9.
The monarch began her stay in the Scottish Highlands by attending the official welcoming ceremony, which in 2020 was canceled due to the coronavirus and which was held again this Monday.
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This is the first summer that the 95-year-old monarch goes to Balmoral without her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, who died at the age of 99 last spring and who had a predilection for the place, where the couple spent part of honeymoon in 1947 and where Felipe used to prepare barbecues to entertain guests as he did with Tony Blair. The former prime minister later confessed that Elizabeth II was then in charge of washing the dishes after that evening. Although their presence is common, the question of whether the queen will be seen with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge still remains in the air, something that seems quite likely, since Prince William and Kate Middleton did not even stop coming. last year as a result of the coronavirus. But nevertheless,and practically ruled out that of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex - who stopped attending a couple of summers ago - if a visit that generates expectation is possible, it is Sarah Ferguson's. According to the Daily Mail, the Duchess of York has received an invitation from the monarch to come together with her ex-husband, Prince Andrew, who remains removed from public life after he was related to the pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Ferguson had also been invited on previous occasions, but, according to the British newspaper, she had only attended for a few days, until the arrival of Felipe from Edinburgh, with whom she did not maintain a good relationship. Precisely, the Dukes of York was in Balmoral when in 1992, after announcing her separation from Prince Andrew,Photographs of him and businessman John Bryan came to light and went around the world.
During the ceremony, the monarch was reunited with Lance Corporal Cruachan IV, the mascot of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. Jane Barlow / Getty Images
The official arrival of the queen has been commemorated with a small act at the castle gates, in which she was reviewed by the Honor Guard, made up of the Balaklava Company and the Royal Regiment of Scotland, an infantry corps to which She has honored in her attire by wearing a brooch with the insignia of the same and of which she is Colonel-in-Chief. In addition to the most formal moments, the celebration has given way to other more relaxed ones such as the reunion of the monarch with Lance Corporal Cruachan IV, mascot of the Regiment and who is famous for having starred in hilarious moments in the past, such as when he tried to eat a bouquet of flowers during the 2017 homecoming event. In February 2018, the pony also nibbled on Prince Harry's fingers during his visit with his then-fiancée,Meghan Markle, to Edinburgh Castle.
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Since arriving in Balmoral on the 23rd, Queen Elizabeth has been staying at Craigowan Lodge, an estate near the castle that has seven rooms, where it is customary for her to stay, as in this case, in the first days of her vacation, waiting for the tourist visits to cease and everything was ready for his arrival at the castle, which he even went to last year, in a much more uncertain scenario with regard to the pandemic. Unlike other royal residences, Balmoral is owned by the queen, not the state, and became a holiday destination for the English monarchy during the reign of Victoria I and Prince Albert. Since then it has been the scene of countless historical and important moments in the life of the royal family. There, for example, was where 24 years ago it was communicated to him,including her children, the death of Diana of Wales in a traffic accident on August 31, 1997.