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Queen attends official welcome ceremony at Balmoral

In the pink! Beaming Queen attends official welcome ceremony at Balmoral during her first summer holiday at her Scottish estate without Prince Philip

  • Queen, 95, was officially welcomed to Balmoral today to mark the start of her Scottish summer holiday
  • Marks her first summer at the Aberdeenshire estate since the death of the Duke of Edinburgh in April 
  • The Queen looked radiant in a pink floral dress, pink coat and matching hat for today’s engagement
  • It is the first time the welcome ceremony has taken place since 2019 due to Covid-19 restrictions 

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The Queen looked radiant in a pink ensemble as she was officially welcomed to Balmoral Castle today.   

In a small ceremony outside the Castle gates, the Queen inspected a Guard of Honour and met The Royal Regiment of Scotland’s Mascot, Shetland Pony Lance Corporal Cruachan IV.

The monarch, 95, arrived at the Aberdeenshire estate in late July and typically remains until early October. Today’s low-key ceremony formally marks the start of Her Majesty’s stay.  

Over the coming weeks she is expected to host family members including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex and Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.

It marks the Queen’s first summer holiday at her Scottish estate since the death of the Duke of Edinburgh in April, at the age of 99. 

The monarch, 95, has been at the Aberdeenshire estate since late July and typically remains until early October

Welcome back, Ma’am! The Queen looked radiant in a pink ensemble as she was officially welcomed to Balmoral Castle today. The monarch, 95, has been at the Aberdeenshire estate since late July and typically remains until early October

Neighs to see you! In a small ceremony outside the Castle gates, Her Majesty inspected a Guard of Honour and met The Royal Regiment of Scotland's Mascot, Shetland Pony Lance Corporal Cruachan IV (pictured)

Neighs to see you! In a small ceremony outside the Castle gates, Her Majesty inspected a Guard of Honour and met The Royal Regiment of Scotland’s Mascot, Shetland Pony Lance Corporal Cruachan IV (pictured)

In the pink: The Queen brought a splash of colour to proceedings in a pleated floral dress, pink tweed coat and matching pink hat. The Queen, who is Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, wore the cap badge as a pin

In the pink: The Queen brought a splash of colour to proceedings in a pleated floral dress, pink tweed coat and matching pink hat. The Queen, who is Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, wore the cap badge as a pin

A royal welcome: The Queen was greeted by a Guard of Honour formed of the 5 SCOTS, Balaklava Company, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, under the Command of Major Cameron Law

A royal welcome: The Queen was greeted by a Guard of Honour formed of the 5 SCOTS, Balaklava Company, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, under the Command of Major Cameron Law 

The Queen was greeted by a Guard of Honour formed of the 5 SCOTS, Balaklava Company, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, under the Command of Major Cameron Law. The Queen is Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

She brought a splash of colour to proceedings in a pleated floral dress, pink tweed coat and matching pink hat with floral detailing at the brim. The Queen accessorised with a simple three-strand pearl necklace, a pair of white gloves, and her favourite black leather loafers and patent handbag. 

The Queen, who is Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, wore the cap badge as a pin.

This is the first time the welcome ceremony has taken place since 2019. In line with government guidelines, the ceremony did not take place last year.  

It coincides with the easing of the majority of lockdown restrictions in Scotland. 

It comes after a source claimed the Queen is ‘itching for things to get back to normal’ during her annual break at and hopes to host a BBQ for the royal family at the castle. 

A source told The Sun: ‘The family barbecues are back on the agenda even without Philip there for the first time.’

The Queen donned a floral dress, pink coat and matching hat for the pared back ceremony today

The monarch arriving at Balmoral

Her Majesty’s summer holiday!  Over the coming weeks she is expected to host family members including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. Pictured, the Queen being welcomed today

It comes days after it was revealed Fergie has been invited to stay at the Queen’s Scottish retreat this summer.

‘Sarah Ferguson is coming,’ a source told Richard Eden. ‘She will be here with Andrew.’ It’s not clear whether Fergie and Andrew will be joined by their daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

The stay at Balmoral will no doubt be bittersweet for the Queen, who enjoyed many happy memories with her late husband on the estate.   

While never truly off duty it was the closest that the Queen and Prince Philip would come to a proper holiday. There would be raucous drink-fuelled evenings and jovial house parties, and quiet days with old-fashioned parlour games by the fire while the rain hammered down outside.

Then there was the famous ghillies’ ball which took place each October, with invites extended to house and estate staff as well as neighbours and friends.

A true ‘upstairs downstairs’ event, it was never complete without Scottish country dancing and one could, if lucky enough to receive an invitation, quite easily find oneself being whirled around the dancefloor by the Prince himself, resplendent in a kilt and smiling.

In April, the Queen released a picture of herself and Philip in the hills near Balmoral.

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