Saturday, July 20, 2024

Balmoral Castle offers exclusive tours

King Charles is opening up Balmoral Castle for the first time - KESQ

Royal Retreat: Balmoral Castle Opens Its Doors for Exclusive Summer. ToursIn a historic move, King Charles III has announced the unprecedented opening of Balmoral Castle for intimate tours this summer, offering a rare glimpse into the cherished Scottish residence of the British royal family.

Queen Elizabeth II in the Drawing Room at Balmoral Castle on September 6, 2022 in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Queen Elizabeth II in the Drawing Room at Balmoral Castle on September 6, 2022 in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Running daily from July 4 to August 11, tickets for these exclusive tours, priced at £100 ($126), were swiftly snatched up by eager royal enthusiasts within a mere 24 hours of release.

Nestled along the banks of the Dee river within Scotland’s breathtaking Cairngorms National Park, Balmoral estate has been a beloved retreat for the royal clan since its acquisition in 1852 by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria.

The estate’s journey began with a humble start as the original property proved too modest for royal living, prompting the construction of the grand castle we know today, just a stone’s throw away. Over the years, this sprawling 50,000-acre sanctuary has offered solace and sanctuary to the Windsors, particularly in times of adversity.

This summer heralds an unprecedented opportunity as parts of the castle never before accessible to the public will be unveiled for exploration. King Charles III’s decision aligns with a broader initiative to increase accessibility to royal residences. Notably, the East Wing of Buckingham Palace, including its iconic balcony, will welcome visitors for the first time, alongside routine openings of other royal estates like Windsor, Sandringham, Holyroodhouse, and Highgrove.

Among the tour highlights is the majestic ballroom, where Queen Elizabeth II rested in state before her journey to Edinburgh in 2022. Here, an exhibition featuring watercolor artworks by the King, depicting scenes from Balmoral, Highgrove, and Sandringham, awaits visitors, alongside a display of attire worn by members of the royal family.

Limited to just ten participants, the hour-long tour promises a captivating historical journey from the estate’s inception to the present day, showcasing the unique allure of Balmoral.

Guests also have the option to indulge in traditional afternoon tea at the onsite restaurant for an additional £50 ($63), enhancing the royal experience.

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Beyond its regal façade, Balmoral holds deep personal significance for the royal family, having served as a sanctuary during moments of joy and sorrow. From Prince William and Prince Harry receiving the devastating news of Princess Diana’s passing to Queen Elizabeth II’s final days as England’s longest-reigning monarch, Balmoral has witnessed it all.

While privacy has been paramount, previous tours have allowed glimpses into the estate’s grounds and gardens, with limited access to the castle interiors. Additionally, guests have the rare opportunity to book accommodations in five charming cottages nestled within the estate, with occasional encounters with the royals themselves, as recounted by fortunate visitors.

As King Charles III and Queen Camilla anticipate their annual August retreat to Balmoral, this year’s visit will offer a much-needed reprieve following the King’s cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Concluding the tour, visitors can commemorate the occasion with purchases from the Mews Gift Shop, offering homemade preserves, Balmoral whisky, and timeless tweed mementos, ensuring lasting memories of this extraordinary royal retreat.

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