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Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle is a large estate house in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, owned by Queen Elizabeth II. It is near the village of Crathie, 9 miles west of Ballater and 50 miles west of Aberdeen.

 

 

Balmoral has been one of the residences of the British royal family since 1852 when the estate and its original castle were bought from the Farquharson family by Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria. Soon afterward the house was found to be too small and the current Balmoral Castle was commissioned. The architect was William Smith of Aberdeen, and his designs were amended by Prince Albert. Balmoral remains the private property of the Queen and is not part of the Crown Estate.

 

The castle is an example of Scottish baronial architecture and is classified by Historic Environment Scotland as a category A listed building. The new castle was completed in 1856 and the old castle demolished shortly thereafter.

 

King Robert II of Scotland (1316–1390) had a hunting lodge in the area. Historical records also indicate that a house at Balmoral was built by Sir William Drummond in 1390. The estate was later tenanted by Alexander Gordon, second son of the 1st Earl of Huntly. A tower house was built on the estate by the Gordons.

 

In 1662, the estate passed to Charles Farquharson of Inverey, brother of John Farquharson, the “Black Colonel”. The Farquharsons were Jacobite sympathizers, and James Farquharson of Balmoral was involved in both the 1715 and 1745 rebellions. He was wounded at the Battle of Falkirk in 1746. The Farquharson estates were forfeit and passed to the Farquharsons of Auchendryne. In 1798, James Duff, 2nd Earl Fife, acquired Balmoral and leased the castle. Sir Robert Gordon, a younger brother of the 4th Earl of Aberdeen, acquired the lease in 1830. He made major alterations to the original castle at Balmoral, including baronial-style extensions that were designed by John Smith of Aberdeen.

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