Skip to main content

Birkhall, the Queen Mother's Favorite Retreat

Birkhall, the British Royal Family's retreat in Scotland. Image: Geograph

About eight miles from Balmoral, beside the River Muick stands Birkhall, a favorite royal residence of several generations of the Royal Family. Built in the early 18th century by the owners of the nearby Abergeldie estate, Birkhall was acquired by Prince Albert together with the Balmoral estate in 1849. He gave to his eldest son, Edward Albert, Prince of Wales who, instead, preferred staying at the more expansive Abergeldie Castle. In 1884, Queen Victoria bought the property from the Prince of Wales and lent it to her staff and extended family. Dighton Probyn, Keeper of the Privy Purse and Queen Alexandra’s comptroller, occupied the property in the late 19th century.



During the reign of King George V, Birkhall was lent to the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth), who made Birkhall their holiday home. The Yorks refurbished the home and planned the beautiful sloping garden. The couple and their two daughters, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret Rose found respite in Birkhall. While it has lower height compared to the nearby Balmoral Castle, Birkhall imbues warmer air, and its rustic appeal proved cozy and relaxing for the family.

The Yorks were in Birkhall when the Abdication Crisis reached its full swing; Edward VIII and Mrs. Simpson, meanwhile, were then partying at Balmoral. In December 1936, the King abdicated and the Yorks  ascended to the throne as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. While the King and Queen occupied Balmoral, Princess Elizabeth, her husband Prince Philip, and their children spent their summers at Birkhall.

After the death of King George VI and the succession of his daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, in 1952, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, preferred Birkhall as her Scottish country home. Here she would spend autumns after staying at Castle of Mey, surrounded by her family and friends. Whenever she was in Scotland, she took advantage of the opportunities nearby for one of her favorite hobbies-- salmon fishing. She enjoyed the informality of Birkhall and would often dress in tartans or Scottish tweeds. 

When the Queen Mother died in 2002, Birkhall was inherited by Charles, Prince of Wales. In 2005, he married Camilla Parker-Bowles and it was here where they spent their honeymoon. In 2011, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, was in Birkhall for the New Year's Eve. 

Comments

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular posts from this blog

The Truth about “Princess Qajar,” the Royal Lady with the Mustache

A Persian princess viral news websites baptized as Princess Qajar has lately become a stuff of legends. She was presented as a royal lady with a facial hair that made her so attracted that 13 men claimed their own lives because she couldn’t love them. The truth is, there was no “Princess Qajar,” only the Qajar dynasty  that ruled over Persia for more than a century.

The only fact about this historical meme is that at that time, it was fashionable for Persian women to wear mustache. “Many Persian-language sources, as well as photographs, from the nineteenth century confirm that Qajar women sported a thin mustache, or more accurately a soft down, as a sign of beauty,” explained Dr. Afsaneh Najmabadi.
The memes and fake stories circulating online refer not to a single princess, but actually to two female dynasts: Princess Fatemah Khanum"'Esmat al-Dowleh" and her half-sister, Princess Zahra Khanom Tadj es-Saltaneh. Their father, Naser al-Din Shah Qajar, ruled Persia from 1…

Queen Victoria and Her Conflict with Lord Palmerston

Moving on with our Queen Victoria series, today we will discuss about Queen Victoria’s “cold” treatment of one of her ministers, Lord Palmerston. We shall see how this long-running conflict began.
The defeat of the Tories in the 1846 General Elections saw the dismissal of Sir Robert Peel from the office. With the Whigs on the helm of the government, Henry John Temple, the Viscount Palmerston was appointed Minister of the Foreign Office. His ascension to that post ushered in the greatest struggle between the crown and its ministers since the day when George III had dismissed the coalition government of Fox and North.
Lord Palmerston’s long tenure in public office made up almost untouchable Palmerston’s appointment to the Foreign Office came shortly after he celebrated his 60th birthday, a time when he could proudly look back on his achievements and career in the government that began in 1809, ten years before Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were born. Always confident in his wit and dip…

The Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara

When Princess Eugenie of York married Mr. Jack Brooksbank, it was not only the first time that she wore a tiara in public, it was also the first instance when one of the British Royal Family’s most precious tiaras surfaced after being locked up in the royal vault for over seven decades. Contrary to popular speculation that Princess Eugenie would wear her mother’s York Diamond Tiara, the bride, instead, borrowed The Queen’s Greville Emerald Kokoshnik tiara.
The tiara was originally created by Boucheron for to society hostess The Hon. Mrs. Herman Greville in 1919. According to the Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor, Mrs. Greville “was a social climber,” “a snob” and gossipy lady. Cecil Beaton also describes her as a “galumphing, greedy, snobbish old toad who watered her chops at the sight of royalty and the Prince of Wales’s set, and did nothing for anybody except the rich."  
The tiara was designed in the kokoshnik style, which was popularized by the members of the Russian Imperi…