Browse content similar to Balmoral. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Balmoral - the Royal Family's holiday home in Scotland.
It is the most private of the Queen's residences,
a romantic retreat,
as far from the formality of state as it could possibly be.
THE QUEEN LAUGHS
It is here that the Royal Family enjoy Balmoral traditions their ancestors created.
From kilts to hunting...
The salad is ready.
..Picnics to porridge.
This retreat is key to the idea of monarchy.
More than any other royal residence,
Balmoral has become a proving ground.
Of those who take the test,
not everyone falls in love with Balmoral.
If you do not like walking in the hills,
if you do not like fishing, if you do not like shooting,
Balmoral is not the ideal place.
It is totally ill-designed for the jet-set.
Balmoral is critical to the Royal Family,
uniting a diverse kingdom.
It is rugged, outdoors, and, in its own way, Scottish.
It was Scottishness, Scottishness everywhere.
It was a tribute to Scottishness in excess.
With Balmoral's tartan vision,
the Royal Family have helped to create Scotland, the historic myth.
In turn, Balmoral has become a sanctuary from modern Britain,
where the monarchy can enjoy an ancient world of royalty.
MUSIC: 'Highland Laddie'
The Highland Gathering at Braemar, Aberdeenshire.
The music is Scottish, the dancing is Scottish,
the event is steeped in Scottish tradition.
Amidst this display, the Royal Family arrive.
None of them was born in Scotland.
Yet they determinedly attend every year, dressed in kilts.
For them, these Scottish ceremonies have become a crucial part of being royal.
Ever since Queen Victoria,
there has been a strong, visceral link, almost,
between the Royal Family and the Scottish background.
They were always convinced that it was a very special relationship.
At the heart of this relationship is Balmoral Castle.
Created as a romantic holiday home, it has come to symbolise much more.
Balmoral celebrates deep rooted values,
which have come to define the very essence of the British monarchy.
Yet at the beginning of the 19th century,
the monarchy didn't care to visit Scotland,
let alone live in the Highlands.
The family love affair with Scotland began with Queen Victoria.
In 1842, she planned an exotic holiday with Prince Albert.
It was their first trip north of the border.
Scotland wasn't part of the mass Victorian tourism in those days,
so Victoria was very much avant garde in going there with Albert.
Once they arrived there, people were delighted to see them.
It was like a monarch going to a hidden part of China today.
People were delighted to see them.
They'd never seen people from London before, let alone the Queen.
The Times declaimed from Edinburgh -
"Nothing is now spoken of
"but the Queen's visit to her ancient kingdom of Scotland.
"It has superseded all other topics of the day".
Victoria and Albert were received by thousands of welcoming Scots,
with a theatrical display of fireworks, balls,
and exaggerated Scottishness.
At Drummond Castle, medieval heraldry was even hired for the visit.
She's also welcomed by 100 tenants who are carrying Lochaber axes,
which is the traditional weapon of the country.
That's an axe on a pole, usually about ten feet high.
Those hadn't been used in battle
since the very beginning of the 18th century.
Even then they were an outmoded weapon.
They showed the immemorial past.
The Highlands as a location of the fey,
the extraordinary, the supernatural,
a strange survival who had strayed into the modern age.
Queen Victoria noted -
"It seemed as if a great chieftain in olden feudal times
"was receiving his sovereign.
"It was princely and romantic".
Victoria was greeted by Scotland at its romantic best.
There was tartan and she said there were maidens dressed in long gowns with flowers in their hair.
It was a beautiful theme park,
and even, it seemed as if the ordinary humble people
lived in far more beauty than anyone ever could.
Victoria immersed herself in every aspect of Scottishness,
much to the delight of the Scots.
She had her first taste of porridge, which she found "very good".
As for Albert, the Scottish mountains and forests reminded him of his native Germany.
For the Royal couple, Scotland was pure romance.
I just think there's something so potent, so irresistible about Highland Scotland,
especially in terms of its sentimentalised version.
It strikes all the senses and emotions,
it strikes the sense of the magic history.
It strikes the human sense and awareness of grandeur of scenery.
This is one of the last true wildernesses of Europe,
which is, if you like, an alternative to
the evils and excesses of urbanism.
I mean, I feel this still today, going up there.
After two further trips,
Victoria and Albert were so seduced by Scotland
that they purchased a holiday home in Aberdeenshire -
They quickly found it wasn't large enough for the entourage.
In 1852, they began to build an entirely new castle
with a new design.
Balmoral gave Albert the opportunity to create his own vision
of beauty and perfection.
It was a vision that stemmed from a German upbringing.
To me, this Balmoral looks very much like a German castle.
Having been to so many German castles,
and it looks very much like the castles he grew up in.
It has the towers, it has a fairytale element to it.
It's like the Brothers Grimm.
Balmoral's interior too was a romantic adventure,
bedecked with tartan.
This is a sitting room, with tartan carpet and upholstery.
The ballroom was graced with Gothic chandeliers and tartan curtains.
Albert let rip.
It was Scottishness, Scottishness everywhere.
It was a tribute to Scottishness in excess.
There was tartan everywhere.
Everyone complained about the decor, it was tasteless.
It was all rather excessively...
A kind of pre-Disney version of Scotland
and Victoria and Albert thought it was marvellous.
Queen Victoria wrote -
"The house is charming, the rooms delightful,
"the furniture, papers, everything perfection".
Yet the tartan paradise they had created was packed with irony.
Tartan was associated with the Scottish royal line, the Stuarts.
Victoria sees herself, as she puts it, as the heir of the Stuarts,
the heir of that unhappy race.
Her Scotland is a Scotland where she is the inheritor
of a long-standing past.
Despite declaring herself a Stuart,
it was Victoria's great-great-grandfather, George II,
who had massacred Stuart supporters, the Jacobites, at Culloden.
He even made the wearing of Stuart symbols of the uprising, such as tartan, illegal.
One Government commentator had it in 1747,
when referring to the Disarming Act,
and particularly to the controls over traditional Highland dress,
"This is an instrument for disarming and undressing those ruffians."
Because these were regarded as, if you like, the sartorial manifestations,
the manifestations in dress, of disaffection,
By the end of the 18th century, as well as state oppression,
Highland people saw massive agricultural change
and brutal evictions from their land.
When you go to the Highlands today,
people always comment upon it as a beautiful wilderness,
but it's far from a beautiful wilderness.
It's a derelict, derelict landscape.
In Highland Scotland, because you didn't get industrialisation,
because you didn't get an alternative to land,
it eventually brought distress, destitution,
mass emigration, famine.
Some Scots rejected the dereliction
by romanticising the old world of the rebellious Jacobites.
No-one did more to reinvent the past and glamorise Highland culture
than the writer Sir Walter Scott,
author of Waverley, Ivanhoe and Rob Roy.
There's plenty of passages that I think it is utterly forgivable
to let your eye glide over.
There's some descriptions of heather
that I don't think I've ever quite read through entirely.
"Where glistening streamers waved and danced,
"the wanderer's eye could barely view.
"The summer heaven's delicious blue
"so wondrous wild,
"the whole might seem the scenery of a fairy dream.
Walter Scott himself remarked
that what makes Scotland Scotland is fast disappearing.
Henry Lord Cockburn, the great intellectual lawyer -
"This is the last truly Scotch age".
So there was a hunt on, if you like,
to retain a sense of cultural identity,
while at the same time retaining the union.
By the early 1800s,
Scotland had become an intellectual and economic powerhouse.
But Walter Scott created an intoxicating image of pastoral romance.
In London, the young Victoria had become obsessed by Scott's vision.
The first novel she ever read was his Bride Of Lammermoor.
There's no question
that Sir Walter Scott, sort of, lit the fire in Victoria's heart
that developed into her great love of Scotland.
We think of this, sort of, dumpy little widow
but that wasn't the young Queen at all.
She was passionate about everything
and the moment she saw it, she felt she'd come home.
I think Sir Walter Scott created in her
a curiosity to see Scotland that led her there maybe the sooner.
Her new husband, Prince Albert, also loved reading Scott's novels.
In Germany, editions had been pirated they were so popular.
Throughout Europe, a new romanticism took hold.
One German composer, Mendelssohn, had fallen in love with Scotland
and befriended Victoria and Albert.
Mendelssohn's Fingal's Cave is a fantasia on Scottish themes.
And I think that phrase "a fantasia on Scottish themes"
summarises the whole project that Scotland was going through
in the 19th century, from the Waverley novels to Balmoral -
these were fantasias on Scottish themes.
By 1855, the newly-built Balmoral
was ready to be lived in by its royal owners.
Amidst this Scottish fantasy, Victoria's diary entries lengthened,
reflecting her deep passion for Balmoral.
"Every year my heart becomes more fixed in this dear paradise,
"and so much more so now,
"that all has become my dearest Albert's own creation,
"own work, own building, own laying out."
But not everyone thought it to be the paradise she did.
Lady-in-Waiting Augusta Bruce observed with reticence -
"a certain absence of harmony of the whole".
Well, looking at old photographs,
Victorian Balmoral was slightly cluttered,
like all of Victoria's palaces and spaces.
It was full of antlers and deers' heads everywhere,
particularly in the hall.
Some of the rooms were terribly small,
so that people who went to stay there were shoved into these tiny rooms.
Particularly at the beginning, you'd get ministers complaining
they were forced to write their dispatches on their bed
because there's no desk in their room,
and you know, it's such a tiny space!
Comparing it to another royal home, politician Lord Rosebery observed -
"The drawing room at Osborne was the ugliest in the world
"until I saw the one at Balmoral".
I personally think Balmoral is a gruesome house.
No grandeur, no distinction.
Big, ugly, dull, oppressive.
But for Victoria, it was a dream house
in which she could play out her fantasy.
I think in Balmoral Victoria was making a Waverley novel you could live in.
From the exterior to the decoration inside.
I think Scott would've loved Balmoral.
It's such a shame that he didn't live to see it.
He would probably have made it even more romantic and slightly phoney.
The Royal Family had also been attracted to some Spartan conditions.
The outside cold could drop as low as -27 degrees centigrade,
giving the monarchy the chance to battle the elements.
One of the interesting things about Balmoral is it's absolutely freezing.
Braemar is, which is of course very, very close indeed to Balmoral,
is the coldest part of Great Britain.
So it is a very, very, very cold place.
So it was a brave place to choose
and certainly was in its own way a struggle with nature
on the part of the Royal Family.
Victoria loved the cold.
There was nothing more Victoria liked than a nice chilly day.
In fact, she would constantly throw the windows open all the time,
leaving the ladies in waiting shivering in their fine silks.
In fact the Tsar claimed Balmoral was colder than the wastes of Siberia
and Lord Clarendon claimed he had frostbite in his feet
from having to be in Balmoral, because it was just so cold.
It's always raining there.
It rains morning, noon and night.
It just rains horizontally, seldom vertically.
They have rude rain up there, as the locals call it.
It doesn't go round you, it goes through you.
The rain there circulates in the air for hours at a time.
It just blows horizontally and doesn't ever touch the ground,
so you can meet the same squall two or three times in the same day.
Victoria relished conquering the cold
on her frequent walks in the hills.
Austere picnics were almost a daily occurrence.
"We sat on a very precipitous place
"and here, at a little before two o'clock, we lunched.
"The luncheon was very acceptable, for the air was extremely keen."
Well, they went out in all weather,
on pony rides, on picnics, on these great expeditions.
I mean, Queen Victoria wrote about it at length,
describing these wonderful, rather romantic expeditions.
The reality was it was terribly cold and when it wasn't cold, there were awful midges.
On these excursions, the Royal Family would meet the locals.
Albert thought the Highlanders looked like Germans.
"The people are more natural and are marked by their honesty and sympathy,
"which always distinguish the inhabitants of mountainous countries,
"who live far away from towns."
The locals, for their part, seemed only too happy to wear the kilt,
to put on a display of Scottishness for their Queen.
I think Victoria's clear, authentic love of Scotland
plays very well in Scotland.
It's going to be a very...
She's bound to be a very popular figure because of that.
And she is. I don't think there's any doubt about that.
Scotland was also moulding Victoria and Albert.
Within the walls of Balmoral,
they wanted to re-invent themselves as Scots.
The tartan extended from Balmoral's carpets to the royal attire.
Even the workers were required to wear plaid.
Yes, Queen Victoria and Albert were 50 years behind the times
when it came to fashion
and that continues in the Royal Family to this day in many ways.
It was a sort of perhaps historical thinking or traditional thinking,
they didn't want to be fashionable,
they didn't want to compete with London society.
The family apparently took to wearing kilts for dinner
and Albert designed his own special tartans just for the pair of them.
And this is almost a type of patriotism,
because until then the best fashions were always French fashions,
and here was Victoria saying, "We don't want French chefs.
"We don't want French fashions, French lace, all this stuff.
"I want tartan and I want porridge".
Balmoral gave the monarchy the opportunity
not only to create their own style,
but reinvent the world in which they lived.
Far from the riots and stench of London,
they could create a new model society.
Balmoral gives them a chance to run a sort of medieval fairytale
in many ways because they can exert patronage,
there are peasant people living around,
they can visit them in their huts.
Courtier Charles Greville remembered the daily activities of the Queen.
"She is running in and out of the house all day long
"and often goes about alone,
"walks in to the cottages and sits down and chats with the old women."
There was a huge nostalgia in the 1830s and 40s for the Middle Ages,
for the dream of order, for the wholesome feudal loyalties
that had existed in the Middle Ages.
So Queen Victoria was going up
and seeing all these marvellous Scottish epic things
and saying, "This is what I like,
"because it helps the whole business of loyalty to the crown."
And the crown is part of that great tradition.
Nowhere was this feudalism more evident than at the Highland Games.
"Throwing the hammer, tossing the caber, putting the stone.
"We gave prizes to the three best in each of the games."
Victoria and Albert were great fans of the Highland Games,
hail, hearty subjects throwing things around
and seeming as if this was the epitome of British strength.
They could just chuck cabers and that sort of thing,
it was all perfect.
Victoria herself was, kind of, almost like some kind of chieftain.
I am the Queen, but I'm also the tartan-clad chieftain of all of you.
I think with Victoria and the Highland Games,
you have an idea of honorary feudalism.
It is to an extent dressing up and playing the role.
There's no real power there.
I mean, if you think about it by analogy,
it's perfectly safe to dress up as a Viking or a Jacobite
or a knight from the Middle Ages.
It's only in these, kind of, dead costumes
that the ceremonial can find its chance to relive the days of power.
Balmoral also provided another theatrical backdrop
against which to play the role of a royal - the animal kingdom.
Victoria loved animals and nature.
As a little girl, she'd loved her ponies.
She'd loved her animals, as do our current Royal Family.
And there were animals everywhere. There were stags all over the place.
This was a place of great nature.
As for Albert...
Albert was an extraordinarily bad hunter.
He went out on a day's deer hunting and came back with a hare.
He got himself portrayed spearing salmon with a leister, with a fish spear,
which is one of the most difficult ways you can have to catch fish.
He was reliving the past in doing that.
Once he got so frustrated that when he was at breakfast with his host
and his tame stag came to the window to be fed, Albert shot him.
He didn't go in for the rather more delicate British habit of just killing the occasional thing.
He wanted a massacre.
The stag is first used as a symbol of the Stuart dynasty under siege
in Denham Cooper's Hill, where the killing of the stag
is symbolically seen as the killing or the attack on Charles I.
So in actually hunting the deer in Scotland,
was both in a sense symbolically killing off the Stuart dynasty,
but realising the inheritance of the Scottish Royal Family
back to its earliest foundation myths.
Albert's conquests of nature were presented to the monarch,
as immortalised in oil paintings.
The English artist Landseer created the ideal stag
in the Monarch Of The Glen.
I think nobility, dignity, honour, integrity.
The stag possesses all these things
and the hunter, in pursuing them, is outwitting the creature
and the difficulty in outwitting the creature
is an important part of that.
And Landseer and Victoria got on very well.
Landseer is important in nurturing
that Highland sensibility in Victoria.
He instructs Victoria in drawing and watercolour.
So Landseer's painting just becomes part of the package of the Highlands for Victoria
that calls to mind everything about the Highlands that she values.
Balmoral has even given us a new term,
coined in Victorian times - Balmorality.
Signifying a combination of patronage, respectability,
Scottishness and the great outdoors.
Balmorality, a very important concept,
because, as has been often said,
the crown is the symbol of ourselves behaving well,
and if people who have the crown upon their heads behave badly,
it shakes the whole foundations of the throne and of the monarchy.
It was the values of moderation and respectability
that enamoured Victoria to the Presbyterian Scots.
She was respected,
because she was a mother.
She was serious.
She seemed to embody the values
that particularly middle class Scotland agreed with,
so she was very much an icon
and she was incredibly popular.
Balmoral's influence spread far.
In Victoria's wake, English aristocrats adopted her rituals in Scotland.
I remember once seeing on the front of Tatler,
after a particularly grievous general election result in the 1990s,
seeing this headline which said,
"How We love Our Highland Playground."
And, you know, this has been the attitude
of the high British establishment to Scotland
ever since Victoria's day,
that Scotland is this little bit on the edge where you go in August,
and where you shoot and where there's lots and lots of empty land with nobody much in it,
and where one has one's shooting and hunting and fishing kind of holiday.
As novelist Anthony Trollope would later write,
in the shooting season, dukes were
"more plentiful than in Pall Mall".
The middle class English, too, were keen to explore this new landscape.
Thomas Cook tours to Scotland started in 1846,
with hundreds flocking to see the world of Walter Scott
and now Queen Victoria.
Balmoral had helped create a Highland brand.
Rather than a modern industrialised nation,
Scotland had become dramatic glens and Highland cattle.
I think Victoria and Albert popularised that romantic conception of the Highlands tremendously.
By buying Balmoral and remodelling it the way she did
and her repeatedly coming back to Scotland,
and the value that she placed on Scotland,
it gave tremendous impetus to that Highland identity.
The tartan industry also took off. By covering Balmoral with tartan
and adorning those around her within it,
Victoria promoted the once illegal Highland dress.
You know, if the most famous Scotsman in the world nowadays
is a character from the Simpsons that wears a kilt,
has red hair, a fiery temper and drinks too much whisky,
we can't wholly blame Scott and Victoria for that,
but they certainly set the preconditions
whereby that idea of Scottishness became an international brand.
Balmoral had also become a symbol of the union of the two countries,
empowering both the monarchy and Scotland.
This is perhaps unique to Victoria's reign that by her period,
the monarchy had become an additional keystone,
an additional important support of union
in a way in which monarchy had not been before,
because there was this kind of symbolic representation of Britishness on the one hand,
but the great thing for the Scots was that she was proud of,
and tried in a sense, in a very explicit sense,
not only by her visitation but by her love for Scotland,
to recognise Scotland's identity within the union.
In 1861, Prince Albert became seriously ill.
As Albert lay dying,
Victoria read him Walter Scott's Peveril Of The Peak.
There's a very touching copy of the Waverley novels in the Windsor library,
where you can see the copy of Peveril of the Peak
that she was reading to Albert on his deathbed
and they put a black border round the very page that he died on.
It's not a very good page.
You can see why he didn't want to get to the end of the book.
While Victoria grieved for Albert,
Aberdeen churches prayed for the Queen in her bereavement.
Well, after Albert died, Queen Victoria was devastated
and that meant she really refused to accept that anything moved on
or changed after Albert died.
And so Balmoral became a kind of museum.
Balmoral became much more a joyless place
and the children, certainly the Prince of Wales,
used to rather hate going there,
because it was all so strict and regimented and gloomy.
Visitors were similarly ill at ease
with the sombre atmosphere of Balmoral.
Politician Henry Campbell-Bannerman remarked,
"It is the funniest life conceivable, like a convent.
"We meet at meals and when we have finished, each is off to his cell".
For Tsar Nicholas II -
"The weather is awful.
"Rain and wind every day and on top of it, no luck at all.
"I haven't killed a stag yet".
For the rest of her life, Victoria retreated more and more to Balmoral.
Away from state and society,
she found comfort in the world of Balmorality
she had created with Albert.
On 22 January 1901, the hands on the local church were stopped at 6:30pm.
Queen Victoria had died.
It was the end of an era.
But Victoria could never have predicted
how Balmoral would become a testing ground
for all future royal behaviour,
including that of the new King.
I suppose Edward VII's main enjoyments
were fornication and food.
There was plenty of food at Balmoral,
but not much in the way of fornication,
and I think he was grateful to get back to London.
His figure did not allow him to do anything very energetic.
He enjoyed shooting, but very kind of static shooting.
And to imagine King Edward VII crawling over the hills
in search of a stag is very hard to conceive.
Edward VII was the antithesis of Balmorality.
He wasn't called Edward the Caresser for nothing.
He was a prince of pleasure, he was...
Kipling called him a corpulent voluptuary
and I think he was the opposite of his mother in that sense.
He lived for pleasure rather than for duty.
Rather than reading Sir Walter Scott,
the King described Balmoral's library
as "the mausoleum of the great unread".
I think that Edward VII insisted on very strict standards of behaviour
when he became king.
But, of course, there's always a slight sort of double standard,
because at the same time as this is going on,
everybody knows and it's public knowledge
that the king has a sort of official mistress in the shape of Mrs Keppel.
She doesn't stay at Balmoral I don't think,
but she often comes over to lunch at Balmoral.
So I think with Edward VII it was all about public appearances.
Edward VII hadn't lived up to the Victorian rules of Balmoral.
But his son, George V, was perfectly suited to uphold Balmorality.
George V was, of all the 20th century monarchs,
the one to whom Balmoral meant most, I think.
He was probably the most conservative with a small C monarch
that there has been for...
Except perhaps for Queen Victoria in her declining years,
there has been no British monarch
that's come within striking distance of him
for total rooted, dogmatic conservatism.
"I love a gun, but I am never so happy
"as when I am fishing the pools of the Dee,
"with a long day before me."
With George V, there's a big change in the atmosphere.
Lord Esher, who is one of Edward VII's, sort of, favourite courtiers
and was at Balmoral a lot with Edward VII,
and he said the first time that he went there,
"It's now totally domestic, and it's too awful
"because Queen Mary spends her evenings knitting."
In 1936 Balmoral was to be shaken once again
with the new king, Edward VIII.
He was more at home with the French Riviera and London cocktail parties
than he was at Balmoral.
If you do not like walking in the hills,
if you do not like fishing,
if you do not like stalking, if you do not like shooting,
Balmoral is not the ideal place.
It is totally ill-designed for the jet-set.
King Edward VIII was a jet-set before there were jets,
he was a walking jet-set,
and there was no place in Balmoral
where the jet-set could be accommodated.
Edward also rejected the Balmoral code of respectability
by immersing himself in a love affair
with American socialite, Wallis Simpson.
In contrast, his younger brother Albert,
the future King George VI,
loved the outdoor life, predictability and stability
that Balmoral provided.
Albert also loved all things Scottish,
and in particular, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon,
daughter of the Earl of Strathmore.
Unlike the urban Wallis Simpson, Elizabeth was a natural Balmoralite.
She embraced Scottish country life and everything it had to offer.
She was taught to fish by one of her father's gillies
when she was very young
and she became an expert fly fisher.
In fact she often got fish bones stuck in her throat
and she used to call it the salmon's revenge.
In September 1936, the clash between King Edward's world of glamour
and the Balmoral establishment came to a head.
Not only had Edward spent much of the summer cruising the Med,
but he'd dared invite his American divorcee lover, Wallis Simpson, to Balmoral.
Wallis was horrified at the tartan furnishings, declaring,
"This tartan has to go!"
Mrs Simpson looked thoroughly out of place in Balmoral.
She was dressed to the nines always,
as if she was about to walk out on to the lawns of Hurlingham or somewhere.
It simply was so totally alien to her, the whole place.
The mere existence of King Edward VIII
in the mood in which he was in 1936
was a threat to the way of life at Balmoral,
a threat to the way of life of the Royal Family.
When the metropolitan Wallis met Elizabeth,
the very essence of Balmorality,
the monarchy collided with the modern world.
Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon and Wallis Simpson were chalk and cheese.
They couldn't have been more different.
They disliked each other, and Wallis Simpson famously called
Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon "that Scottish cook".
She used to call her Cookie, in fact,
because she thought she looked so plain and ordinary,
she might be a member of staff.
There's a little story about how the Duchess of York,
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother to be,
came to Balmoral with Wallis Simpson acting as hostess,
and she swept past her and she said, "I've come to dine with the King."
In other words she was still loyal to her brother-in-law, Edward VIII,
but she didn't want any truck with this two-bit American adulteress, adventuress, whatever she was,
who was cutting at the root of the monarchy
by having this affair with the King.
The King and Mrs Simpson would never return to Balmoral.
The establishment had rejected them.
They had failed the Balmoral litmus test.
With Edward's abdication, Balmorality remained intact.
And with the crowning of George VI, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon became Queen,
much to the delight of the Scots.
The fact that George V married a Scot is very important,
because the Scots tended to be very...acquisitive
about who they defined as Scottish
and of course that effectively meant
that they could claim that the heir to the throne
was effectively half Scottish.
And with Queen Elizabeth's first born,
Balmoral culture would be embraced with a passion
not seen since Queen Victoria.
Elizabeth II is really a countrywoman at heart.
I think she's famous for saying,
"When I grow up I want to marry a farmer
"and have lots of horses and dogs and children."
I think she identified with Queen Victoria,
and certainly her father, George VI, used to say when she was quite young,
"Well, we often wonder whether history will repeat itself",
meaning that the Queen, Queen Elizabeth II,
would turn out to be a queen in the mould of Queen Victoria.
In post-war Britain, society changed and the country modernised.
While in the Highlands of Scotland,
the Queen's own castle remained just as it had ever been.
I would say that,
taking into account the obvious changes of modern conveniences,
but life in Balmoral is in essentials extraordinarily similar
to what it was 100 or 150 years ago.
That the pattern of life was laid down in the 19th century,
what you did, when you did it, and though now they've got Land Rovers
and now they've got electric lights,
basically they are doing the same things in more or less the same way
as they were doing when Queen Victoria was there.
Since Victoria's time, Balmoral has become more than a retreat.
It replenishes the Royal Family's identity,
renewing their most important values.
Photographer Ken Lennox has seized opportunities
to see these ideals in action.
On one occasion the Queen was on the moors,
every inch the noble chief with her subjects,
just as Queen Victoria had been.
The Queen was dressed in raincoats, sturdy shoes, ankle socks and a hood
and she would mix for the three or four hours
amongst her own people up there.
And at one stage she was introduced to one of her shepherds,
or she had called on the shepherd,
and he ends up leaning on his crook with both hands,
as if it was anybody else.
And they're just so natural, here's the Queen and one of her shepherds,
just having a jaw up in the hills.
Queen Victoria dictated that tartan was to be worn at Balmoral.
Today, the Royal Family still wear this symbol of Scottishness.
What you see when you see Prince Charles in a kilt at Balmoral
is a man determined not to yield to the fads of modern Britain.
You also see, I think, a Royal Family playing hard the Scottish card,
trying to keep the United Kingdom together.
'Pageantry of another kind in Scotland.
'At Braemar there are pipers...'
At the Highland Games the Royal Family can firmly put their Scottishness on display.
Now attracting huge crowds, the clansmen still test their physical strength
and hail the reigning monarch as chieftain.
When the Queen and Prince Philip attend the Braemar Games
it's part of a huge fantasy in which the royals are engaged.
It's a great pageant of the past, because they're not Scottish,
they are German mainly,
and they are engaging in something
which is supposed to unite them with their people.
It's supposed to bring them together with their people.
Like Victoria, the Royal Family enjoy escapism,
but they are no fair-weather tourists.
A courtier once said,
"The Royal Family will go out in weather you wouldn't put a dog out in".
As in Victoria's time, the Royal family avoid indulgence at Balmoral.
Instead, Tupperware picnics are nearly a daily occurrence.
The picnics of Balmoral are curiously like Marie Antoinette
in the Petit Trianon, pretending to be a dairy maid.
They are a wonderful mixture of comfort, informality
and a wonderful, efficient machine driving them all from behind.
You could say in a way it is the Royal Family playing at being ordinary human beings
and there is some truth in that.
The salad is ready.
Lady-in-waiting Margaret Rhodes spent many holidays at Balmoral in the company of the Queen.
Prince Philip is an extremely good chef
and he does the cooking
and the Queen makes the salad.
There's nobody else there in the way of help.
It's usually probably birds that have been shot down, you know,
lovely roast grouse or venison steaks.
Then they have enormous sausages called Cumberland sausages
which go on and on and round and round for ever, you know.
What's this for?
What's this for?
Well, picnics are taken very seriously at Balmoral.
Prince Philip not only designed a barbecue,
he designed a trailer for the barbecue,
and everything was done to strict order.
If it wasn't done properly there'd be a lot of shouting from Prince Philip
and sometimes from the Queen too.
And the Queen would play her part by making the salad dressing.
All right, I'm coming.
Hunting and fishing remain important rituals at Balmoral.
To conquer nature is an important part of being royal.
Following in Albert's footsteps,
Prince Charles often stands alone in the icy River Dee.
Stag hunting is also a favourite pastime.
Charles is a very serious man
in the sense that his shooting's not frivolous.
If they shoot a deer it will be part of the menu for the household
and for the royals themselves.
He is prepared to spend days at a time going after one red deer.
Official visitors have largely played along with this lifestyle.
Prime Ministers are exposed to Balmorality
when they trek to Scotland every year.
I think at the start always a Prime Minister goes with trepidation.
"Yikes! A weekend with the Royal Family,
"how is this gonna be socially?"
Nice to see you.
They're people whose whole life revolves around the written word,
behind gossip, behind ideas,
and they go up to Balmoral and find a world
where really ideas aren't regarded as particularly exciting
unless it's the idea of what's gonna be for lunch.
He keeps it very tidy, too. This is their shed.
One prime minister, in particular, was never entirely comfortable with Balmorality.
I think her sister wrote that she'd never had any shoes
apart from patent leather court shoes,
and they went with her to Balmoral.
And there used to be an absolute struggle
between the ladies in waiting and Thatcher,
how they could get her into country shoes.
I think they even managed to get her into green Wellington boots.
There is this terrible cliche
when people think about Mrs Thatcher and the Queen,
that they didn't get on.
There is strong evidence to suggest that actually they got on,
because Mrs Thatcher once gave the Queen for Christmas
a set of washing-up gloves, a pair of Marigolds,
and that's because she'd seen the Queen at Balmoral
washing up without gloves.
And Mrs T, being Mrs T,
thought you can't wash up without washing-up gloves,
and so she sent Her Majesty a pair of yellow gloves, plastic.
I think she found the whole thing boring, and beyond belief.
She kept saying "I must govern", you know,
and when Rupert Murdoch heard that she was going up to Balmoral
he said, "Oh, how boring for her."
I'm sure that that reflected her own feeling.
I mean, it's notorious that when it was time to leave
she'd been packed and ready to go hours before the off,
because she was so eager to get away from the place.
As for Cherie Blair, she was the very antithesis of Balmorality
as encapsulated in an unfortunate pose.
What a photograph it is.
It is of a moose in its maternity throes.
It is of, I don't know,
a cross-Channel ferry opening its cargo gates,
and she plainly is bored rigid by the Balmoral weekend.
Here were the Blairs, they had sprung from metropolitan Islington,
they were people whose whole life had revolved around urban conceits
and fantasies and interests.
Cherie, if told she had to go out in the pouring rain -
"We're going for a walk, Mrs Blair." "What, in that?!"
You can just imagine it.
And then the thought of a barbecue, the, sort of, burnt sausages,
it's not easy, is it, to see how this could have been overcome.
But this is part of the comedy of our rulers, isn't it?
Urban politicians have never been expected
to understand the royal rituals in the great outdoors.
But royal family members are still required to pass the test
that is Balmoral.
I came across Prince Charles fishing and I saw there was a girl with him.
Later on in the day, we found out it was Diana Spencer,
who was the younger sister of a former girlfriend,
so we didn't really pay too much attention.
Coming back down the plane that weekend
there was a member of the royal party on the plane who said,
"Don't ignore her."
That's all he said, "Don't ignore her."
The following year, Diana and Prince Charles married.
They spent part of their honeymoon at Balmoral.
Diana joined in the traditions, even shooting a stag.
Diana never liked Balmoral, but she pretended to.
She pretended to like it so much,
that Prince Charles really believed she loved it
and thought this is terrific.
But Diana was absolutely miserable.
She hated the formality,
she hated the fact that she was actually having part of her honeymoon
with her mother-in-law,
she hated the picnics,
she hated the weather,
hated the rain,
and, you know, she went into a real deep depression.
Initially, Diana passed the royal test with a facade of Balmorality.
She turned up in this tartan dress
with a little Glengarry hat on
and arrived at Braemar Games.
She looked sensational, she looked happy.
She looked everything a princess should look like.
And she had bowed to the royal bit,
Charles was there in his kilt and she was there in this tartan dress.
She looked sensational.
But it wasn't long before her deep rejection of Balmoral began to show.
She didn't get on really at all
with the kind of rather Spartan existence that they lived up there.
Diana was an English rose really,
and I suppose she thought Charles was a Scottish thistle.
She described it as, "Boring, boring, boring,"
and she clamped her Walkman on her head
and tried to keep away from the whole thing.
At the Braemar Games, with Balmorality on view,
Diana's impatience with the rigid mechanisms of monarchy
increasingly revealed itself.
Well, as a Scot, even as a Scot, Braemar Games are boring.
If you've ever seen a film of the Braemar Games,
the whole day is condensed into about three minutes.
And none of that's very exciting.
If you've seen one man tossing a caber,
it's quite exciting the first time and maybe even the second time,
but after that it's not very exciting to be there.
When she'd got to Braemar Games for a second visit
she had spent quite some considerable time at Balmoral Castle
and had been there solidly without a break,
so she was stuck around the castle playing ludo with Prince Andrew,
which, you know, couldn't have been a lot of fun.
The royals can be deadly dull at the time,
and Diana was, as everyone knows, was a bright, cosmopolitan girl.
Diana, like Edward VIII before her,
had refused to re-invent herself as a Balmoral woman,
embracing metropolitan values instead.
For Charles, as his marriage disintegrated,
Balmoral became a refuge, as it had been for Victoria.
In 1987, Charles spent several weeks at Balmoral
without seeing Diana or the children.
It was this very isolation
that would haunt the Royal Family after the 31st August 1997.
The Royal Family, including Charles, William and Harry,
were in Balmoral the night Diana died.
The week after, as public emotion poured out in London,
the English people were dismayed that the Queen stayed in Scotland,
while so many grieved in London.
500 miles north,
the Royal Family eventually made it outside to Balmoral's gates.
I think, just for a moment, for a week or so,
they just couldn't understand what was happening.
They were sitting in another country in a tartan castle
with all their own iconography about them,
not responding to the cries of the, kind of, people of London really
who are always the more...
You know, the crowd on whom a British monarchy first depends.
And they couldn't understand that those people too
had a different set of needs from what they'd had in 1950.
You know, they weren't any longer a class of people in bowler hats,
going to the City with stiff upper lips
and accepting the old British way, they had totally changed.
It was really a close thing.
Diana's death illuminated Balmoral's place on the British stage.
Just as Victoria's love of Balmoral had once symbolised the Union,
now the castle represented isolation and two nations growing apart.
The monarchy, once shaped by Scotland,
now faced an increasingly independent nation.
One of the reasons I would argue why the union
is not quite as strong as it was in this new millennium
is because the monarchy doesn't have the same influence today
as it had perhaps in previous generations.
Within two years of Diana's death,
Balmorality was challenged once again.
In a historic moment,
the Queen opened the first Scottish Parliament for nearly 300 years.
Scotland is all this and so much more.
The grit, determination and humour, the forthrightness,
and above all, the strong sense of identity of the Scottish people,
qualities which contribute so much to the life of the United Kingdom.
And these qualities reflect a Scotland which,
if I may make a personal point,
occupy such a special place in my own and my family's affections.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
I remember seeing her later in the day.
I don't think I've ever seen a woman look more exhausted.
She was fine and she was doing her duty
and going round the reception and everything,
but she looked completely drained,
and it occurred to me that at that moment
she had been holding in herself.
I suppose, for her it was a matter
of holding together the whole history of the family
and the monarchy over the last 300 or 400 years,
that she had to not put a foot wrong, she had to say the right thing,
she had to not create a situation
that would actually blow the whole kingdom apart.
One of the interesting things in the last few years
is the extent to which the monarchy has adjusted
to the devolutionary settlement, more successfully perhaps
than the Westminster political parties have adjusted to it.
And that adaptability and flexibility
and responsiveness to Scotland has been a mark of the Royal Family
throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
But in the 21st century,
Balmoral and the monarchy that depends on it
face further adaptation as Britain continues to change.
I would say that as the Queen's generation fades away,
the Balmoral imagery will begin to fade away as well.
Prince Charles will sustain it to some extent.
The next generation won't sustain it in that form.
If they come to Scotland, for the same sort of reasons and to do the same things
they'll do it in a different style,
they'll look different when they're doing it, I think.
And as for the political future,
they will have to continue to play a very, very subtle game,
if they want to remain monarchs of all four of these bits of the UK.
Over 200 years, Balmoral has shaped both the monarchy and Scotland.
Whatever Balmoral's future,
Victoria's fantasy Scottishness has become a tradition,
an invented history.
The nation, in turn, has reaped vast rewards from a powerful brand.
I think the reason why the Balmoral vision of Scotland has survived
is that that is Scotland.
Whether we like it or not,
the idea that tartan,
are the things that we recognise as being peculiarly Scottish,
is still the case.
And our tourist industry would collapse without that.
The very fact that we go over to New York to do Tartan Week
as a way of promoting Scottishness I think speaks volumes.
I mean, the French tourist board don't have Beret Week,
nobody sends out for Lederhosen Week,
those things are Scottishness.
After 200 years, it is the thing it pretends to be.
"The romance and wild loveliness of everything here,
"the absence of hotels and beggars,
"the independent simple people,
"all make beloved Scotland
"the proudest, finest country in the world."
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]