King Charles' Summer Vacation Plans Break A Century-Long Royal Tradition

Each year, in early August, King Charles III and Queen Camilla head to Scotland for their summer break. Typically, Charles kicks off his vacation by visiting the Castle of Mey and enjoying the Highland Games there. The Castle of Mey was a favorite summer destination for the Queen Mother after she purchased the property in 1952 and refurbished it. Then, it's off to the family's Balmoral estate, the premier destination for royal summer vacations since Prince Albert bought Balmoral Castle for Queen Victoria in 1852. 

However, unlike previous monarchs, the king doesn't plan to reside at Balmoral Castle this year. Instead, Charles will stay at Birkhall, his personal home on the Balmoral property. Birkhall is also a former home of the Queen Mother, and Charles inherited the house in 2002. Queen Elizabeth II cherished her summers at Balmoral, relaxing and surrounded by family. Sadly, Balmoral is also the place where the queen died on September 8, 2022

Charles' exact reasons for breaking this long-standing tradition are unknown, but it's possible his decision could be out of grief for his mother. After all, as Darren Stanton, a body language expert, explained to Express, "Balmoral was the queen's favorite place to be, so I think the king is going to be the most affected, and whether he chooses to show his emotions in public or not, behaviorally, I think it's going to be a very tough time." 

King Charles has a special affinity for Birkhall

Like Queen Elizabeth II's connection to Balmoral Castle, King Charles III has a special link with Birkhall too. Charles had a close relationship with the Queen Mother, and he associates her former property with happy memories of his grandmother. Charles and Camilla even spent their 2005 honeymoon at Birkhall, quarantined there during the pandemic, and celebrated New Year's Day there too earlier this year. A nature enthusiast, the king loves Birkhall's proximity to the river Muick. "It has this wonderful sound of rushing water," Charles once informed the BBC (via Express). "When you are in the house it's very calming and peaceful I think ... It has a very special atmosphere."

Grant Harrold, the king's former butler, believes Charles is going to shake up his traditional summer plans further by skipping the Castle of Mey. "My gut is telling me that he will do the whole ceremony of arriving at Balmoral. He'll divide his time between Balmoral and back home," Harrold asserted to British Heritage. Like his mother, however, Charles will be aware of his royal responsibilities. 

"He'll go up there like all of us who have been in a similar situation, and he'll put on a brave face and carry on," the former butler surmised. Charles will host official visitors, like British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, at Balmoral Castle itself. The property will also be available as lodging for royal family members. Even so, like in previous years, it is highly unlikely that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will visit.