The Queen and then-Prince Charles walked around Balmoral grounds last year – Copyright AFP Louisa Gouliamaki
Queen Elizabeth was particularly attached to Scotland, but this will now forever be associated with a turning point for her son Charles and the United Kingdom.
It was in Scotland, at Balmoral Castle, that Queen Elizabeth died on Thursday at the age of 96, sealing the ascension to the throne of Charles III.
In his first speech as monarch on Friday, Charles indicated that his son William, now heir to the crown, also inherited the Scottish titles that “meant so much” to him.
In the foreground is the title of Duke of Rothesay, a title held by the heir to the British monarchy and now held by 40-year-old William, his eldest son.
Charles was the longest-serving holder of the title for 70 years, the length of his mother’s reign, a record for a British monarchy.
Earlier this month, Prince Charles donned the kilt as usual at the Braemar Royal Highland Gathering, a Scottish heritage event alongside traditional events such as the tug of war.
– “Colditz in kilts” –
At 13, Charles was sent to Gordonstoun, the rough Scottish boarding school his father had attended. Desperately alone, he hated it, describing his years there as “absolute hell”, “jail sentence”, and “Colditz in kilts”.
But in 1975, he recalled that years at boarding school had taught him to “take on challenges and take the initiative.”
Always a nature lover, Charles, who has a private residence at Balmoral Manor, painted Scottish landscapes in watercolor.
He traveled the same landscapes when he skied or hunted, always with a flask filled with Bruichladdich or Laphroaig whiskey, according to Whiskey Magazine.
In 1994, Prince Charles awarded the distillery Laphroaig with the Royal Order, which allows it to place the royal coat of arms on its products.
In an effort to preserve Scottish heritage, Charles stepped in to save Dumfries House, an old residence bought in 2007 by a consortium led by the Prince, who integrated it into his foundation in 2018.
– Picnics in the Cairngorms –
Queen Elizabeth not only was of Scottish descent – both her parents had a common ancestor in Robert II, King of Scotland in the 14th century – but she spent most of her childhood at Balmoral, her summer residence, where she breathed her last.
“Scotland has played a special role in our lives and the lives of my family over the years,” she said in 2012 during a visit to Perth.
The Queen, who smiled in a recently released photo with her late husband Prince Philip in the Cairngorms Massif, where she enjoyed picnicking, traveled to Scotland for her Silver, Gold and Diamond Jubilees.
But she has also been there during tragedies, such as the Lockerbie plane bombing that killed 270 people in 1988, or the Dunblane school shooting when 16 children and their teacher were killed in 1996.
En route to her annual visits to Balmoral, the Queen also took part in a week of royal events at the official residence of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, where her casket arrived on Sunday.