Balmoral Castle

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Balmoral Castle (pronounced /bælˈmɒrəl/) is a large estate house situated in the area of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, known as Royal Deeside. The estate was purchased by Queen Victoria's consort Prince Albert, and remains a favourite summer royal residence. It is the private property of the Queen and is not part of the (state-owned) royal estate.

The Balmoral estate has been passed down the generations and has gradually expanded to more than 26,000 hectares (64,000 acres).[1] Today it is a working estate, employing 50 full time staff and 50 to 100 part time.


Early history

The Balmoral Estate began as a home built by Sir William Drummond in 1390.[2] The estate was formerly owned by King Robert II (1316–1390), who had a hunting lodge in the area. After Drummond, the estate was sold to Alexander Gordon, the 3rd Earl of Huntly, in the 15th century. The estate remained in the family's hands until it was sold in 1662 to the Farquharsons of Invery, who sold the estate in 1798 to the 2nd Earl of Fife. The estate formed part of the coronation activities of King George IV in 1822.

Royal residence

Balmoral is today best known as a royal residence, the summer retreat of Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh. Its history as a royal residence dates back to 1848, when the house was leased to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert by the trustees of Sir Robert Gordon (who had obtained a long-term lease of the castle in 1830 and died in 1847). They very much enjoyed their stay in the house, and paid just over £30,000 for full ownership in 1852. Prince Albert immediately started making plans with William Smith to extend the existing 15th century castle, and make a new and bigger castle fit for the royal family. The new building Prince Albert ordered to be built within a hundred yards of the old castle was planned and designed partly by himself and completed in 1856.

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