Queen Elizabeth begins yearly Balmoral holiday with ‘pomp ceremony’ including tiny pony

Queen 'given welcoming ceremony at Balmoral' says expert

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Queen Elizabeth has travelled to Balmoral on her end of season holiday annually since she was a child. It is a royal tradition that comes with plenty of unique aspects a typical holidaymaker might not experience when heading on their summer travels.

This includes a special “grand welcome” ceremony to mark her heading north of the English border.

Yet, alongside an array of human guests who are on hand to greet Her Royal Highness, there is also one “lovely little” guests of the animal variety.

As Channel 5 documentary The Royals on Holiday explains: “Summering in Balmoral is a royal tradition and as with all royal traditions that one with added pomp and ceremony.”

Victoria Howard, editor of The Crown Chronicles described the special welcome tradition in detail.

She said: “Each year when the Queen heads up to Balmoral for her summer holiday she is given a grand welcome.

“An official ceremony to welcome her back north of the border and that involved pipers, it involves soldiers and there is a lovely little Shetland pony that is mascot of one of the regiments and who is always there to greet her.”

The Shetland pony, much like the pipers and soldiers it accompanies, is dressed in traditional Scottish tartan.

There is a lot more to this tradition though than pure ceremony.

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Ms Howard continues: “The Queen inspects the military regiment who take on the role of her personal guard for the duration of her stay at balmoral.”

Although a lot of the holiday is shrouded in royal luxuries, there are also some rather simple aspects of the trip.

In fact, though Balmoral is a grand residence surrounded by 50,000 acres of grounds, according to one insider it is a “shabby chic” alternative for the Royal Family.

Paul Burrell, former servant of the British Royal Household explained: “Balmoral is a place where time stands still.”

“Queen Victoria would be very much at home if she went back to Balmoral,” he continued.

“VRI flock wallpaper stills hangs on the walls, nothing changes and the queen loves it that way.

“Even the carpet is tartan and sometimes it’s threadbare.

“It’s sort of shabby chic for the royals.”

Balmoral was built in the 1850s by Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert.

It remains a hub for the family to get together, with the younger royals often taking time to travel up north and visit the Queen during the summer months.

Though Queen Elizabeth has taken on the tradition alongside Prince Philip over the years, it is likely she will continue her holiday favourite as it is a place of such significance.

“The Queen has adored it as much as her father did and his father did,” said Richard Kay, editor at large of the Daily Mail.

“It is a pivotal part of her childhood and memories growing up there.”

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