The Weirdest Habit Queen Elizabeth Has While She’s On Summer Holiday at Balmoral

Queen Elizabeth isn’t a lot like us but she does do something that so many people do in the summer — she goes on vacation (or if you’re British, on holiday). But instead of loading up the family station wagon with sunscreen, beach chairs, and potato chips, the Queen does things slightly differently. Every year Her Majesty heads to her summer home in Balmoral which is supposedly one of her favorite spots to be.

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth | Chris Jackson – WPA Pool/Getty Images

She must love it there — Queen Elizabeth has been vacationing at Balmoral for decades. And some family members even say it’s where she’s content and most real. “I think Granny is the most happy there. I think she really, really loves the Highlands,” Princess Eugenie said during the documentary Our Queen At Ninety.

While she’s there, Queen Elizabeth does something so unusual. Royal fans can’t believe that Her Majesty accomplishes this one task by herself while on vacation.

Queen Elizabeth doesn’t fully relax while she’s on holiday

Queen Elizabeth
The royal family | Bettman/Getty Images

As expected, the Queen travels with a full staff including housekeepers, chefs, and the like. But even though she doesn’t have to lift a finger while she’s on holiday, Her Majesty enjoys washing dishes after dinner sometimes.

“You think I’m joking, but I’m not,” former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said after a Balmoral visit. “They put the gloves on and stick their hands in the sink. The Queen asks if you’ve finished, she stacks the plates up and goes off to the sink.”

Why would Queen Elizabeth do something so pedestrian, like washing dishes? Probably because it’s so foreign to her. Unlike the rest of us who have to do dishes all the time, Queen Elizabeth might be comforted by the odd ritual that she doesn’t normally do.

The Queen mostly loves spending time with her family

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth | Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

Though her Balmoral estate is an escape from the pressures of daily life, it’s not like the Queen wants to hide out in solitude. Instead, she prefers spending time there with family members who make the trek, enjoying cookouts and game nights. Princess Eugenie said time there includes, “walks, picnics and a lot of dogs.”

The Queen even broke royal protocol once, inviting Kate Middleton to spend time at Balmoral before she and Prince William were engaged. But that’s not something she does very frequently. And it mostly proves that she knew what most of us did not — that her grandson would most likely wed Middleton eventually. Otherwise, she never would have been invited.

Balmoral has a long history

Prince Charles and Princess Diana
Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer | Daily Record /Mirrorpix/Getty Images

The royal vacation destination dates back to 1390, though it didn’t become property of the British royals until 1852 when Prince Albert purchased it as a gift for Queen Victoria. Prince Charles and Princess Diana honeymooned at Balmoral though most agreed it was less than ideal. Sadly, Prince William and Prince Harry were visiting the estate when they found out about their mother’s tragic death.

The public can tour the estate in the springtime but it is closed when the Queen and her family are in residence.