The Queen and Scotland – A Platinum Jubilee Tribute
Writing in her journal during a visit to Scotland, the Queen wrote: ‘Every year my heart becomes more fixed in this dear paradise.’
That Queen was Victoria, who enjoyed a passionate 50-year love affair with her northern realm, from the moment she and Prince Albert set eyes on a hilly, wooded estate on the River Dee in Aberdeenshire, bought it, and rebuilt its modest, tumbledown castle as a beloved Highland retreat.
Victoria’s great-great granddaughter Elizabeth retains that love of Scotland, and counts Balmoral among her favourite homes. She used to spend at least 13 weeks of every year north of the border, one on duty when her Court makes its annual pilgrimage to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, and 12 on summer holiday among the purple hills and sparkling rivers of her 54,000-acre estate in the heart of the Highlands.
But British monarchs have not always been so enamoured of Scotland. For almost two centuries they viewed it with suspicion as a remote, troublesome and occasionally rebellious land.
See also: Bank Holiday Events for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
On the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, a messenger rode the 400 miles from London to Edinburgh in a remarkable three days to offer the crown to James VI of Scotland. The kingdom of Great Britain was born, although the two countries retained their separate parliaments for another century. James packed his bags, gathered a vast entourage, and set off for London, never to return. Court life vanished from Edinburgh for more than 200 years.