What Meghan can expect from her first trip to Balmoral with Prince Harry

By Meaghan Wray

This summer season has been packed for the newly minted Duchess of Sussex, who’s already been on her first overseas trip with Prince Harry and enjoyed her debut outings with the Queen and Duchess Kate. But her next jaunt will be one for pleasure as she makes her first visit to Her Majesty’s summer vacation home, Balmoral Castle in Scotland, alongside the Duke of Sussex and perhaps even the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge .

The castle grounds are over 50,000 acres. Photo: © ANDREW MILLIGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Following Meghan Markle’s 37 th birthday celebrations and Charlie van Straubenzee’s wedding this weekend, the couple is likely to head to Scotland at some point, where they’ll meet up with other family members for some rest and relaxation. The 92-year-old monarch stays there every summer and typically returns to London in early October, making sure to take advantage of Scotland’s beautiful summer and early autumn seasons. The main castle has just closed to tourists, meaning the monarch and Prince Philip are moving into the ‘big house’ and ready to host a revolving door of relatives over the coming months.

This vacation will mark the 36-year-old’s debut at Balmoral Castle, a gorgeous estate by the River Dee acquired by Queen Victoria in 1852, after being first leased in 1848, according to the castle's official website. She’ll get to see some of the male family members donning kilts and arise to the sound of bagpipes. Meghan may also be able to enjoy some bonding time with her brother- and sister-in-law, Prince William and Kate, and her royal nieces and nephews, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. Perhaps the former actress will even get a little one-on-one time with Queen Elizabeth II, with whom she’s shared a number of special moments, chief among them the duo’s solo day out in Cheshire on June 14.

Princes William and Harry posed for a photo with their dad, Prince Charles, in an old photo taken in Balmoral. Photo: © Getty Images

Meghan will surely be keen to join in on the many activities at Balmoral, from barbecues and outdoor picnics to traditional dances and movie nights – though there is one activity that she’ll likely opt out of, and that’s hunting. Prince Harry, who has quite enjoyed the sport in the past, may also be giving up this hobby out of respect for his animal-loving wife. And speaking of animals, there are endless opportunities to encounter little creatures at Balmoral. According to Brian Hoey’s book At Home with the Queen, he writes that the monarch is known to catch bats that fly into the castle on her own. “She was very strict about them not being harmed,” a source told Brian for his book. “Of course, the next day they would all come back again and we would go through the same routine. I think she enjoyed it.”

The Queen, Prince Philip, the Countess of Wessex and Prince Edward walked together into Balmoral Castle. Photo: © DAVID CHESKIN/AFP/GettyImages

Princess Eugenie summed it up nicely on ITV’s Our Queen At Ninety. "Walks, picnics, dogs – a lot of dogs, there's always dogs – and people coming in and out all the time. It's a lovely base for Granny and Grandpa, for us to come and see them up there; where you just have room to breathe and run," she said of Balmoral. "It's the most beautiful place on earth," she added. "I think Granny is the most happy there. I think she really, really loves the Highlands."

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