Human Interest

Scotland, Queen Elizabeth’s peaceful getaway

By Viviana Garcia

Edinburgh, UK, Sep 11 (EFE).- Scotland was a place of sanctuary for Queen Elizabeth II who escaped the crowds every summer and enjoyed the charming scenery on horseback and long countryside walks.

Balmoral Castle, where the UK’s longest-reigning monarch died aged 96, is tucked away in an area covered with lush greenery in Aberdeenshire in northeast Scotland.

The Queen felt at ease there. She was relaxed even if the summer weather in this remote area of the United Kingdom forced her to sport a coat or use an umbrella.

The monarch had a special connection with Scotland through her mother who had Scottish ancestry.

“Her Majesty’s death at Balmoral Castle means that Scotland has lost one of its most dedicated and beloved servants,” Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

“It will be particularly poignant to see Her Majesty’s coffin begin its journey from her home in Aberdeenshire to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh,” she added.

When she was young and before ascending to the throne, Elizabeth II used to spend time in Balmoral with her parents, George VI and Elizabeth, or in Glamis in eastern Scotland with her maternal grandparents.

Her life then turned around when she became a crown princess when her father became king unexpectedly in 1936, following the abdication of his brother, Edward VIII.

After becoming Queen on February 6, 1952, aged 25, Elizabeth II kept the tradition of spending summer breaks at Balmoral, where she would invite the incumbent prime minister to enjoy a few days.

Recalling his days there, former prime minister Tony Blair said how surprised he was to see the royal family set the table and wash the dishes.

The family always wore tartan skirts at Balmoral, barbecued in the summer, and fished in the River Dee while surrounded by trees, deer and red squirrels.

Annetta, a woman placing some flowers outside Holyroodhouse Palace, told Efe that the Queen was happy and comfortable in Scotland given that her mother was Scottish, and highlighted her efforts to keep the country united.

One of the things that marked Elizabeth II’s reign was her determination not to comment on politics even when the September 2014 referendum on Scottish independence risked the unity of the United Kingdom.

The only comment she made in those days was a casual one to some of her followers near Balmoral, telling them how she hoped people would “think very carefully about the future.”

On September 6, Elizabeth II formally asked new Conservative leader Liz Truss to form a government at Balmoral.

Two days later, she died peacefully in her beloved Scottish castle.EFE


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