The Daily Telegraph
Royal couple back to Balmoral to grieve in private
The monarch has turned to the place his mother loved the most for a period of quiet reflection
THE KING and Queen Consort have travelled to Scotland to begin their private mourning for the late Queen in the place she loved best.
After 12 days of duty, hosting world leaders and serving as the face of a grieving nation, the King yesterday retreated for a week of private reflection.
There was only one place he would go: Balmoral, where his mother found peace in life and death.
Accompanied by the Queen Consort, the King left Windsor Castle after spending the night there with his extended family.
They flew from RAF Northolt to Aberdeen, and were expected to stay at their own home of Birkhall on the Balmoral Estate.
There, King Charles will be able to visit the last place he saw his mother, who died at Balmoral on September 8 at the age of 96.
The King and his sister, the Princess Royal, were able to reach her bedside before she died peacefully.
The Balmoral Estate was a particular favourite of the late Queen, with a special place in the heart of the Royal family, who spent happy summers there each year.
It is largely private, allowing them to picnic, walk unobserved and host guests.
The King’s Birkhall residence was inherited from his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
While there, he will continue with his constitutional duties, including the reading of ministerial red boxes and holding telephone audiences that cannot wait.
But according to a close source, this will be a moment for “quiet reflection” for the King and Queen Consort to grieve for their late mother and motherin-law and to process all that had happened since her death.
Shortly after Queen Elizabeth II’S burial, in the King George VI Memorial Chapel in Windsor on Monday night, the Royal family shared a photograph of her at Balmoral on social media. Underlining its importance to her, it showed the late Queen in the wilds of the Scottish hills surrounded by heather.
Taken in 1971 by her cousin, the 5th Earl of Lichfield, it is thought to be previously unseen and was retrieved from the royal archives to commemorate Her Majesty’s death.
A caption, posted online, echoed the Shakespeare quote used by the King in his moving first television address to the nation: “May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
It added: “In loving memory of Her Majesty The Queen. 1926-2022.”
The photograph was taken by Patrick Anson, 5th Earl of Lichfield, a photographer whose archive contains a treasure trove of images of the off-duty Royal family taken over the course of numerous Balmoral summers.
The choice of image reflects the late Queen’s love of Scotland and the peace she found there.
The King has previously considered Highgrove to be his personal sanctuary,
‘The Balmoral Estate is largely private, allowing the Royal family to picnic, walk unobserved and host guests’
briefly returning there for a night out of the London spotlight between the late Queen’s death and her funeral.
He has asked the Royal family to observe another week of royal mourning, in which they are not expected to make public appearances.
Some events have been cancelled and, although senior members of the Royal family will be permitted to visit patronages or thank members of the public where it feels appropriate, there are currently no plans for them to do so in the coming days.
Once the mourning period is over, there will be a phased return to more normal activities for working members of the Royal family, starting with military or charity engagements and then continuing with personal projects and causes.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, no longer working members of the Royal family, will also be observing the same protocol.