London | Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is expected to spend more of her time at Balmoral Castle in Scotland with her London home at Buckingham Palace set to play second fiddle. The monarch, who will turn 90 in April next year, already spends more nights at Windsor Castle in south east England. As she gradually lengthens the time she spends in Scotland every summer, Buckingham Palace will become a third home, ‘The Sunday Times’ reported.
The UK’s Royal Household staff have begun to re-arrange her diary so that her engagements are packed into fewer days each year. The Queen spends each summer at Balmoral, an extended Christmas break at Sandringham and holds her annual Easter Court at Windsor. She also stays at Windsor at weekends, leaving London on a Thursday afternoon and returning on Monday, meaning in the average week she is at Windsor for four nights and the Palace for only three.
Balmoral is believed to be the Queen’s favourite home, where she unwinds by going for walks on the estate, eating picnics and cooking barbecues. As well as her annual August and September visit to the main house, she and husband Duke of Edinburgh also spend a week at the start of their stay at Craigowan Lodge, a seven-bedroom stone house a mile from the castle which is normally used for guests.
The newspaper’s analysis of the Queen’s diary over the past five years shows that she has already dramatically reduced the amount of time she spends at Buckingham Palace over the last five years. In 2011, the Queen spent 109 nights at Buckingham Palace, whereas this year the figure was down to 88 nights.
In the same period the time she spends at Windsor has risen from 119 nights to 159, while Sandringham has risen from 51 nights to 54. In some years the Queen has stayed at Balmoral for 63 nights, and if that figure rises it would overtake Buckingham Palace in terms of the time she spends there.
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