The Royal Family Hides Out Here When Scandals Get the Best of Them

It seems that the royal family has gone through some serious ups and downs over the past few decades. With all the love and adoration that they have received at various times, they have experienced the opposite extremes of earth-shattering scandals and devastating tragedies. In those times of crisis, the royal family has a very special place where they can retreat and take some time to reflect. It is Balmoral Castle: Queen Elizabeth’s favorite home and the royal family’s defacto hideaway.

Royal fam
(L-R) Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Prince George of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Harry and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (R) | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Where is Balmoral Castle?

Balmoral Castle is one of the most historic properties in the world. It was acquired by King Albert for Queen Victoria in 1852 after she had visited years earlier and become smitten with the beauty and atmosphere of the estate. The royal couple then underwent a series of updates and renovations to the property, while retaining the historic charm of the castle and grounds.

Balmoral Castle has been passed down through the generations in the royal family, and each successive monarch has taken it upon themselves to continue the process of upgrading it. Still, Balmoral Castle remains very similar to how it appeared in the 1840s when Queen Victoria first fell in love with it.

It has been a personal favorite of Queen Elizabeth’s II throughout the majority of her reign. Every summer, the monarch makes a trip to the Scottish Highlands to relax and unwind at the spacious estate. Some members of the royal family have described Balmoral as the “most beautiful place in the world.”

Another royal insider, Lord Lichfield, stated that the royals are able to act like “normal people” at Balmoral Castle, spending lots of time outdoors. Still, the royals don’t only go to Balmoral Castle for rest and relaxation. Sometimes they will head to the secluded estate during particularly difficult times or moments of public persecution — and sometimes, the very worst things happen while they are housed there, ostensibly for peace. 

The royal family has often been at Balmoral Castle when tragedy and scandal strikes

A recent news story talked about two of the most prominent times when the royal family escaped to Balmoral Castle. In 1992, Sarah Ferguson, the estranged wife of Prince Andrew, was embroiled in a scandal that reached new heights of public attention. Ferguson was photographed topless next to a pool while her financial advisor, John Bryan, appeared to suck her toes. The scandal resulted in Ferguson being distanced from the royal family even more than what she already was. What made matters worse was that almost the entire royal family was on vacation in Balmoral Castle when the photos hit media outlets.

Of course, one of the worst publicity moments for the royal family was the tragic death of Princess Diana a mere five years later, in 1997. When the news broke of Princess Diana’s death, her two sons — Prince Harry and Prince William — were both at Balmoral with their grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. While the queen did receive some criticism at the time for not immediately returning to the palace to address Princess Diana’s death, it was later thought that she did that in order to shelter the boys before exposing them to the sadness of the tragedy.

Prince Andrew has been staying at Balmoral Castle

These days, the royal family is grappling with the fallout of Prince Andrew’s sexual abuse scandal. The prince has been linked to Jeffrey Epstein, a known sex offender. And while he has denied the allegations in the past, it’s clear that he will have a harder time shaking this scandal. Once the news went to front pages all around the world, the queen acted quickly, heading to Balmoral with her son and his ex-wife, Ferguson. 

No matter what happens to the royal family in the future, it likely provides them no small measure of comfort to retreat to Balmoral Castle when it seems like the whole world is crashing around them.