The Cambridges Are About To Take Part In Their Summer Tradition Involving The Queen

Queen Elizabeth has three official residences: Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, per the Royal Collection Trust. But the royal family has a number of additional houses — if "house" is the right word for castles, palaces, and estates. 

One notable destination for the royal family is Balmoral Castle. It's a relatively new acquisition compared to other royal residences: Windsor Castle has belonged to the family for nearly a millennium, and the site of Buckingham Palace has been theirs since 1762. 

In 1852, Prince Albert purchased the Scottish Highlands estate for Queen Victoria, and they commissioned Balmoral Castle built on the land. Victoria allegedly referred to it as "heaven on earth," per British Vogue. The queen's summer home is now worth around $150 million.

Along with the castle, the 50,000-acre estate is home to Birkhall, the residence that Prince Charles inherited when the Queen Mother died in 2002, via Country Life. And, located a mile from Balmoral Castle, the seven-bedroom Craigowan Lodge is where the queen stays if she's on the property while the castle is open to tourists, via British Vogue.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are joining the queen in Scotland

Balmoral Castle is apparently a favorite spot of the queen's. Princess Eugenie, one of her grandchildren, said, "I think Granny is the most happy there. I think she really, really loves the Highlands." She loves it so much that it's a tradition for her to spend a couple of months there each year in the late summer, via Woman & Home.

Soon, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, will be moving from London to Windsor, where their three children will be starting at a new school in September, per Town & Country

But, before the grind of the school year, the Cambridge family has headed north to join the queen in Scotland, via People. At Balmoral, the royal family spends time going on walks, having picnics, and generally just enjoying themselves much the same way any other family would.

William also loves Balmoral, but the memories are bittersweet. He was there when he learned that his mother, Princess Diana, had died. "In the dark days of grief that followed, I found comfort and solace in the Scottish outdoors," he recalled, per Woman & Home. "As a result, the connection I feel to Scotland will forever run deep."