Queen Elizabeth has cancelled her traditional “welcome to Balmoral” event.
The 96-year-old monarch – who has undertook few public engagements this year due to ongoing health issues – arrived at her Scottish estate in late July and had been due to attend Tuesday’s annual ceremony up until a few days ago, when it was axed and replaced with a “small, private event”.
Apart from during the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be the first time in decades that the queen won’t greet well-wishers at the gates of the castle to mark the start of her annual holiday after inspecting a Guard of Honour from Balaklava Company, 5th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland.
A source told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “The traditional welcome to Balmoral is normally cemented in the Queen’s calendar and something Her Majesty really enjoys, being able to greet locals who travel to see her.
“It’s a bitter disappointment the ceremony will not take place in its traditional form.”
Another insider suggested the new plan is “very much a sign of things to come”.
Buckingham Palace explained the private ceremony is “in line with adapting Her Majesty’s schedule for her comfort”.
While the queen – who is the Royal Regiment of Scotland’s Colonel-in-Chief – will still inspect the soldiers, it will be in private on the Balmoral lawns within the castle grounds and no TV cameras, photographers or reporters will be invited.
The monarch has been staying at the Craigowan Lodge on the Balmoral estate since arriving in Scotland on 21 July, but she is expected to move into the main castle on Tuesday, and it will then be closed to the public for the several weeks she remains in residence.
The lodge, which is situated a mile away from the castle, boasts seven bedrooms and recently had a “wheelchair-friendly” lift fitted, as well as a new security gate, intercom system and CCTV cameras.