Waving goodbye to Scotland! Queen and Prince Philip are driven away from Balmoral estate as they cut short their summer holiday to spend two weeks in Sandringham ‘bubble’ together
- The Queen, 94, and Prince Philip, 99, have now left the Balmoral Estate at the end of their summer holiday
- Royal couple were seen being driven by car from their royal estate in Aberdeenshire where they spent August
- Were joined by family members including the Cambridges throughout their six week long stay at the castle
- Prince Andrew, 61, was also seen driving away from the estate in Scotland earlier this afternoon
- Queen and Duke of Edinburgh cut short their summer holiday to spend two weeks in Sandringham together
The Queen and Prince Philip have been seen leaving Balmoral Estate together today for their new bubble at Sandringham, as they continue to enjoy spending an unprecendented amount of time together.
The royal couple, who have spent the last six weeks at their Aberdeenshire home, waved to photographers as they were whisked away by car for the airport, roughly an hour away, where they boarded a private jet.
The Queen, 94, and her husband, 99, are now set to travel to Sandringham for a fortnight break before their return to ‘HMS Bubble’ at Windsor, with reports claiming Prince Philip is ‘being made’ to return to Windsor Castle because there is not enough staff to create two anti-Covid-19 bubbles.
Meanwhile Prince Andrew, 61, was also seen departing from the estate after spending roughly two weeks with his parents, amid claims he had been visiting his 94-year-old mother for ‘crisis talks’.
The Queen, 94, and Prince Philip, 99, offered a wave as they departed from their Balmoral estate at the of end their annual summer holiday in Scotland
The Duke of Edinburgh raised a hand in greeting as the couple were whisked away from their summer holiday break
Meanwhile Prince Andrew, 61, who is believed to have spent two weeks with his parents at the estate, also departed earlier today
The Duke of Edinburgh has spent much of his retirement at his cottage, Wood Farm, in the sanctuary of the Sandringham estate, more than 100 miles away from the Queen, who was usually at Buckingham Palace or at Windsor (pictured, Wood Farm)
The royal couple appeared in high spirits and waved to photographers as they departed the Balmoral Estate today for the airport.
The Queen donned a smart cream suit for the journey, with a white patterned headscarf, while her husband opted for a relaxed yellow shirt and comfortable waterproof navy coat.
They were followed by royal aides carrying luggage and a pair of dorgis, the Queen’s beloved dogs which are a cross between a dachshund and a Welsh corgi.
The monarch and Duke of Edinburgh typically remain at Balmoral, in Aberdeenshire, until next month but surprised many royal fans by leaving early and spending time at Sandringham instead.
She and Philip are now due to travel to Norfolk together to ‘spend time privately’ at the their estate, where the Duke spends much of his retirement at Wood Farm.
The Duke of Edinburgh has spent much of his retirement at his cottage, Wood Farm, in the sanctuary of the Sandringham estate, more than 100 miles away from the Queen, who was usually at Buckingham Palace or at Windsor.
But amid the Covid-19 crisis, the Queen wiill return to Windsor in October, from where she will travel to Buckingham Palace for working visits.
An insider told The Sun last week that Prince Philip would also return to Windsor after a two week break at Sandringham as ‘a compromise’, adding: ‘Philip didn’t want to go to Balmoral and doesn’t want to go to Windsor.
The Queen and Prince Philip later arrived at the airport in Aberdeenshire, where they boarded a private jet before departing from Scotland
The Duke of Edinburgh, who has spent the last six weeks in Balmoral Estate, was followed by royal aides as he stepped out of the car at the airport
‘But there is not enough staff to make two bubbles so he is being made to go. It makes far more sense to keep them together.’
A memo issued to staff in April from the master of the household Tony Johnstone-Burt, a former Royal Navy Officer called the mission to protect the Queen and Prince Philip ‘HMS Bubble’.
The bubble requires 24 dedicated employees which work in two teams of 12, with a three week on, three week off rota. Staff are forced to spend a week in isolation and pass a coronavirus test before each three week shift begins.
Although the Duke wishes to remain at Sandringham, insiders claim there are too few staff to create two bubbles 130 miles apart.
Femail has contacted Buckingham Palace for comment.
Experts previously noted that the coronavirus pandemic has allowed the couple, who have been married for 73 years, to spend more time together than they have done in ‘many years’.
Earlier this summer, Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said of their months in lockdown together: ‘This must be the longest they’ve been under the same roof for many years, I would say. But it’s an opportunity for them in their later years to reconnect.’
The royal, pictured, could be seen carefully walking around the edge of his car to meet his wife before stepping onto the private aircraft
Royal aides could be seen carrying bags and luggage for the couple, while one member of staff assisted with the dorgisin the boot of the car
A royal aide could be seen bowing as the Queen stepped out of the vehicle shortly after the Duke of Edinburgh
He added: ‘It is the perfect royal cocooning.’
The Palace confirmed the Queen hopes to resume ‘selected audiences and engagements’ in London in October for the first time since the coronavirus crisis struck the UK in March.
In a statement confirming the news last week, the Palace said: ‘The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will depart Balmoral Castle during the week commencing September 14 to spend time privately on the Sandringham Estate.
‘Subject to the finalisation of the autumn programme, Her Majesty’s intention is to return to Windsor Castle in October and to resume the use of Buckingham Palace for selected audiences and engagements.
‘These plans will be kept under review and will of course be subject to all relevant guidance and advice.’
The royal couple raised a hand in greeting as they were whisked off to an airport in Aberdeenshire, roughly one hour from Balmoral estate
Prince Philip and the Queen have spent six weeks at their Scottish home, and will now return to Sandringham, where the Duke of Edinburgh spends most of his time
The success of the Queen and Philip’s long-lasting marriage has often been put down to their differing personalities.
‘The Queen is a much more laid-back character, while the duke has never suffered fools gladly,’ Mr Little said.
‘The Queen is much less confrontational so I suppose they are opposites in many ways but clearly the chemistry has worked for them as they are now in the 73rd year of marriage so that itself is quite remarkable.’
The royal commentator added that the Queen and duke had admitted tolerance is essential for their happy marriage.
‘As they have said publicly at times of wedding anniversaries, it’s tolerance in abundance and plenty of patience as well,’ Mr Little explained.
‘I suppose for them perhaps it’s always been a case of absence makes the heart grow fonder. They would go through periods of not really seeing much of each other.’
Earlier today, their second eldest son Prince Andrew could be seen leaving the estate amid claims was visiting his 94-year-old mother for ‘crisis talks’.
‘He is such an important ingredient in her success and happiness. He makes her laugh, he’s got a slightly naughty sense of humour, a sense of the ridiculous that keeps her amused,’ he said.
‘She will value that companionship much more than if he were at the other end of a telephone.’
Phil Dampier, author of Prince Philip: Wise words and Golden Gaffes, pointed out that the Duke has ‘always had the ability to make [Her Majesty] laugh’.
Joe added that Prince Philip will be a ‘great comfort’ to the ‘very social’ Queen, who was suddenly cut off from that dimension of her life.
‘They clearly have the most enormously strong partnership and I think a lot of the strength in the relationship comes from his independent mind,’ he told the publication.
‘He’s not your conventional lovey-dovey husband. He’s always been bracing and supportive to the Queen.’
The romance of Prince Philip of Greece and Princess Elizabeth sprang out of a summer encounter at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in 1939.
Philip, who was just 18, was introduced to 13-year-old Elizabeth, who was visiting with her parents, King George Vi and Queen Elizabeth.
Handsome, blond-haired, athletic Philip caught Lilibet’s eye as he entertained her by jumping over tennis nets, and the young princess was smitten.
The pair, who are distant cousins, maintained a regular correspondence and met on several more occasions, with Philip later spending Christmas with the royals at Windsor in 1943.
But, by the end of the war, newspapers were already speculating about their romance, and their engagement was confirmed after the princess turned 21 and returned from a royal tour to South Africa.
Philip applied for British nationality and in February 1947 became a naturalised British subject, renouncing his Greek royal title, adopting the surname of Mountbatten and becoming known as Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten.
The couple married in Westminster Abbey on November 20 1947.
While on honeymoon, Philip wrote to tell his mother-in-law Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother, of his deep love for his new wife.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived at Balmoral (pictured), in Aberdeenshire, at the start of August and have enjoyed visits from family in the weeks since. Stock image
‘Lilibet is the only ‘thing’ in the world which is absolutely real to me and my ambition is to weld the two of us into a new combined existence that will not only be able to withstand the shocks directed at us but will have a positive existence for the good,’ he said.
The Queen went on to move to Malta when her husband, Philip, was based there in command of a Royal Navy frigate.
Those were relatively relaxing times for Elizabeth, then in her early twenties. Security was light and she felt comfortable enough driving herself around in a humble Morris Minor.
Newspapers chronicled people turning up at the villa to hand her oranges. They reported her going to the cinema and a local hairdresser, enjoying picnics in the countryside and swimming at Sliema beach, three miles from her home.
Pictures show the princess chatting with locals, including an old lady weaving traditional lace. She hosted parties for service wives at the villa.
The royal couple left Malta in 1950 for the birth of Elizabeth’s second child, Princess Anne, in August 1950, but they were back by Christmas.
Philip has devoted his married life to supporting his wife, giving up his successful naval career to be by her side when the King’s health grew worse.
On the Queen’s accession, the duke watched her become the single most important woman in the country.
But Lord Charteris, the Queen’s former private secretary, once recalled: ‘Prince Philip is the only man in the world who treats the Queen simply as another human being.
‘He’s the only man who can. Strange as it may seem, I believe she values that.’
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will now spend at least two weeks ‘privately’ at Sandringham (pictured)
In 2007, the couple celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary by travelling to Malta, where they had lived for a short time as a young couple.
In 2012, they marked their blue sapphire anniversary – 65 years – and in 2017 passed the rare, personal milestone of 70 years of marriage – their platinum wedding anniversary.
As well as the Queen and Prince Philip leaving Balmoral, Prince Andrew was also seen departing the estate today after reports suggested he journeyed up to Scotland for crisis talks.
He has been accused of failing to help US prosecutors in their investigation into paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein and the financier Ghislaine Maxwell.
A source told the Sun: ‘The Queen and Andrew will have lots to discuss. So much has come out over the summer.
‘The Queen wants to be kept informed and she will not be back at Windsor until early October.’
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived at Balmoral, in Aberdeenshire, at the start of August and have enjoyed visits from family in the weeks since.
The monarch’s annual holiday to Balmoral has been a little different this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.
It is understood staff quarantined for two weeks in order to minimise the risk of the Queen or Prince Philip, who are both in their 90s, being exposed to Covid-19
It is thought staff also minimised their contact with people outside the royal household in order to create a ‘Balmoral bubble’ designed to keep the Queen and Prince Philip safe.
Measures were also taken by other members of the royal family who came to visit.
It is believed that proposals are being reviewed for how the Queen (pictured in March) could safely attend commemorations at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday in November
But family members did not stay in the castle with the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh as they had done in previous years and were instead housed in other properties in the grounds of the 50,000-acre estate.
They were able to meet the royal couple for outside activities instead including walks, horse riding and picnics.
It comes following reports that the Queen is set to make Windsor Castle her main home and won’t resume residence at Buckingham Palace this year, according to a royal source.
It is believed the Queen’s absence from Buckingham Palace will be her longest during her 68-year reign.
The Queen would usually go back to the premises in October following her summer break in Balmoral.
Instead, following her time in Sandringham, she will return to Windsor Castle where she self-isolated with the Duke of Edinburgh from March 19 prior to their Scottish holiday.
A royal source said: ‘There is a desire to get Buckingham Palace up and running again as a working palace, but only if all the relevant advice suggests that it is appropriate to do so.’
It is believed that proposals are being reviewed for how the Queen could safely attend commemorations at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday in November.
But Her Majesty apparently won’t be returning to Buckingham Palace again until the threat from COVID-19 is extinguished.
However, it is thought that the Queen will be spending her usual Christmas break at Sandringham in Norfolk.