The Queen traveled from Windsor Castle in late July to begin her annual summer break in the Scottish Highlands. However, she was only officially welcomed into Balmoral Castle today, when a small ceremony took place outside the castle to officially mark the start of her stay.
Wearing a bright pink coat and hat, the 95-year-old monarch inspected a guard of honor made up of 5 SCOTS, Balaklava Company, The Royal Regiment of Scotland. Pipes and drums were also played, and the Royal Regiment of Scotland’s mascot, a Shetland pony called Lance Corporal Cruachan IV, was also there to welcome him. Always in her element around the horses, the Queen beamed as she stood next to the pony, who was also dressed for the occasion in her ceremonial uniform with her medals pinned to the side. The pony has been the regimental mascot since 2012, when he succeeded Cruachan III. The tradition of the Scottish Army having Shetland ponies as mascots dates back to 1929 when Princess Louise presented one to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
Cruachan IV has drawn attention in previous years for attempting to eat the Queen’s bouquet of flowers in 2017 and also for attempting to nibble Prince Harry’s hand in 2018. However, he appeared on his best behavior at today’s ceremony. This is the first time the official welcome to Balmoral Castle has taken place since 2019 due to the pandemic.
It is the Queen’s first visit to Balmoral since the death of her husband, Prince Philip, in April. As usual, she will be staying in August and September and is expected to be visited by several members of her family, including Prince William and Kate and their children. Prince Charles and Camilla also spend part of their summer at his estate residence, Birkhall, which was a former home of the Queen Mother.
City & Country Editor Victoria Murphy has reported on the British royal family since 2010. She has interviewed Prince Harry and traveled the world covering several royal tours. She was there DailyMirrorRoyal correspondent for and frequent contributor to Good Morning America.