The Royal Retreat at Balmoral: A Tradition of Inviting Prime Ministers

The Royal Retreat at Balmoral: A Tradition of Inviting Prime Ministers

The King and Queen traditionally spend their summer break at Balmoral in August, where they welcome new guests to their Scottish residence. Just like Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles has continued the tradition of inviting the prime ministers to join him at his Aberdeenshire retreat. Following the recent UK general election, Labour leader Keir Starmer has been appointed as the new prime minister by the King himself during an audience at Buckingham Palace last Friday.

In keeping with tradition, Keir and his wife, Victoria, are expected to be invited to Balmoral by the King during the Parliament summer recess. Former prime minister Rishi Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, were previously seen joining the King and Queen at Crathie Kirk church for their first and only stay at Balmoral last summer. Additionally, the King and Queen are often accompanied by members of their family, including the Prince and Princess of Wales and their children.

Former PM and Conservative leader Boris Johnson, along with his wife, Carrie Johnson, brought their eldest child, Wilfred, to visit the late Queen at Balmoral in 2021, marking her first visit without Prince Philip. Boris Johnson praised Queen Elizabeth II for being “bright and focused” during their final meeting before his resignation at Balmoral in 2022. According to David Cameron, there is little time for relaxation at Balmoral, as the royals are usually engaged in various outdoor activities.

At royal residences like Balmoral, aides meticulously unpack luggage for guests. Cherie Blair, in her autobiography, recounted how her son Leo was conceived during a stay at Balmoral after she forgot her contraception at home out of embarrassment. She mentioned feeling uncomfortable when she discovered that all her belongings, including her personal items, had been unpacked for her. Despite feeling unnerved by the incident, Cherie Blair decided to be more cautious during her subsequent visits to Balmoral.

Following the passing of the late Queen in September 2022, former Prime Minister Theresa May remembered a humorous anecdote from her time at Balmoral in tribute to the monarch. The tradition of inviting prime ministers to Balmoral continues to be a significant aspect of the royal retreat, symbolizing the close relationship between the monarchy and the government. As guests are welcomed to the picturesque estate, they partake in various activities alongside the royal family, creating lasting memories of their time at Balmoral.


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