The Queen and Prince Philip are preparing to start their summer break in Scotland, where they will spend the next couple of months in what is Her Majesty's favourite places in the world, her residence Balmoral Castle.
Located in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, the estate is set amid mountains, lochs and glens, and is an idyllic spot for the royals to enjoy their holidays. Her Majesty starts the break in the seven-bedroom Craigowan Lodge on the estate while the castle is still open to the public, before moving into the main house in August.
Members of the public have only occasionally been given glimpses inside the historic estate, which is privately owned by the royal family, unlike other residences like Buckingham Palace. However, when the Queen has hosted prestigious guests and garden parties, there have been some rare photos taken within the castle. Take a look through the gallery to see more…
The Drawing Room
Her Majesty held an audience with General Sir Peter Cosgrove, the Governor-General of Australia in September 2017. The meeting was held in the drawing room of Balmoral Castle, which has a green colour scheme with carpets, curtains and sofas in complementing tones, and offset by wooden furnishings and luxurious gold accents. A traditional log burning fire sits at the centre of the room, while an antique clock sits in front of a mirror above it.
Another room, where the Queen met Canadian Governor General Designate Julie Payette, has a similar colour carpet, with bookshelves lining the walls from floor to ceiling. An electric heater has been positioned in front of the fire, and a flat-screen TV can be seen in the background for when the Queen and Prince Philip want to relax.
The formal gardens at Balmoral span three hours and were the location for a garden party hosted by Her Majesty in 2012. A favourite spot of the Duke of Edinburgh, he incorporated a large kitchen garden, which is harvested between August and October during the royal family's summer holiday.
There is also a range of Victorian glasshouses and a large conservatory within the gardens, which displays flowering pot plants throughout the year.
The Garden Cottage
This Garden Cottage sits within the grounds of Balmoral and was used at times by Queen Victoria for taking her breakfast and writing diaries. The monarch famously called Balmoral a "paradise in the Highlands" and wrote in her diary: "All seemed to breathe freedom and peace, and to make one forget the world and its sad turmoils."