Figure 1.--I'm not sure which of the princes are pictured here. I think it might br David (future Edward VIII) and Albert (future George VI). They are watching salmon being harvested in Scotland, presumably on or near the Balmoral estate in a photograph taken about 1907. Note the shirt sleeves. The boys are wearing kilts as rough everyday wear. Also notice the caps.
As royal homes go, the history of Balmoral is very short. One of the best purchases the royal family ever made was the purchase of their Scottish estate--Balmoral. Balmoral Castle has been the Scottish home of the British Royal Family since Prince Albert first leased and then purchased it for Queen Victoria in 1852. He knew how she loved Scotland and the distance from London and the cares of official duties made it an ideal retreat. The small original castle on the site had been the hunting lodge of a Jacobite was too small for the demands of the rapidly expanding Royal Family. Under the supervision of Prince Albert a new building was designed. The castle was built from granite quaried in nearby Glen Gelder, which produced a near white stone. The Queen on September 28, 1853 laid the foundation stone of the new castle. The building was finally completed in 1856. The original castle was demolished and the position of the front door of the old castle is marked by a plaque on the front lawn. The original Estate of Balmoral consisted of 4,500 hectares of hill, woodland and small tenant farms. Over the years, further land was acquired.
Balmoral was Queen Victoria's favorite home. One of the best purchases the royal family ever made was the purchase of their Scottish estate--Balmoral. Balmoral Castle has been the Scottish home of the Royal Family since it was purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852, having been first leased in 1848. The castle was a hunting lodge of a Jacobite. By 1855 a renovated and enlarged castle in Scottish Banorial style was almost finished. Balmoral was a favored retreat of Victoria and Albert and generations of kilt glad British royals have romped over the extensive estate. The original Estate of Balmoral consisted of 4,500 hectares (over 11,000 acres) of hill, woodland and small tenant farms. Over the years, further land was acquired, expanding the area to about 20,000 hectares (just over 50,000 acres) at present. The princes had been outfitted in kilts before Balmoral was finished. When the estate was opened the boys always wore kilts during the visits and on many other occasions as well. Even Prince Albdert would appear in kilts. I'm not sure, however, what they thought about their kilts. Before Balmoral, the princes mostly wore kilts as younger boys. The original castle was considered too small for the needs of the Royal Family and under the supervision of Prince Albert a new building was designed. The castle was built from granite obtained in a the neighboring quarries of Glen Gelder, which produced a near white stone. On 28th September 28, 1853 the foundation stone of the new castle was laid by Queen Victoria and building was finally completed in 1856. (By this time Bertie was 15 years old.) The original castle was demolished and the position of the front door of the old castle is marked by a plaque on the front lawn.
When Queen Victoria died in 1901 Balmoral Estates passed, under the terms of her will, to King Edward VII and from him to each of his successors. Queen Alexandra desired to keep Balmoral essential as Queen Victoria had ordered it. Unlike Buckingham Palce and Windsor Castle, there were no extensive renovations and additions. The major change was to replace the tartans carpets and curtains with less bold patterns. There were many appointments at Balmoral that Alexandra did not like. She told her daughter-in-law that Grand-mama's tastes in wallpapers was "rather sad and very doubtful", but she could not bring herself to change the way that the Queen had decorated it. While Alexandra was Princess of Wales she did not much care for Scottish hollidays, in part because she was not happy with "dear old melancholy Abergeldie" where they stayed. Once mistress of Blamoral, she dound herself enjoying Scotland more. [Battiscombe, pp. 220-221.]
Edward VIII as Prince of Wales and later briefly king thought Balmoral oppresive and stuffy. He and Mrs. Simpson made fun of it.
Balmoral is still used by the royal family.
Battiscombe, Georgina. Queen Alexandra (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1969).
Bennett, Daphne. King Without a Crown: Albert Prince Consort of England, 1819-1861 (New York: J.B. Lippincott, 1977).
Woodham-Smith, Cecil. Queen Victoria: Her Life and Times (1972).
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