Charles and Camilla’s beloved Birkhall hideaway

UK News | Published:

The prince inherited the home on the Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire from the Queen Mother.


The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall spent their honeymoon at the idyllic royal retreat of Birkhall.

Now as they approach their 15th wedding anniversary next month, the pair are self-isolating from one another in their beloved Scottish home after Charles tested positive for coronavirus.

Each Easter and summer, Charles and Camilla head to the residence nestled in a picturesque glen on the Queen’s private Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire.

Charles and Camilla
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in their garden at Birkhall in 2015 (Oliver Dann/PA)

The couple, who are known as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland, usually spend their time fishing, painting or walking together near the secluded home, which used to belong to Charles’s grandmother the Queen Mother.

But this stay will be vastly different as they isolate from each other and their small remaining household.

The Queen Mother used to described the home as a “little big house”.

Birkhall is on the Balmoral estate, the royal family’s main Scottish retreat (Ron Bell/PA)


The grand hunting lodge was where heir to the throne Charles found sanctuary as a teenager with his grandmother during his unhappy school days at Gordonstoun.

He inherited it from the Queen Mother following her death in 2002.

In Charles’s own words, the retreat is “a unique haven of cosiness and character”.

Balmoral estate
Charles with his sons William and Harry on the Balmoral estate in 1997 (Fiona Hanson/PA)


Alongside his grandmother, Charles first learned to fish by the whisky-brown waters of the Muick which flows at the bottom of the lodge’s garden.

During the turmoil of his divorce from Diana, Princess of Wales, it was at Birkhall that Charles sought refuge from media scrutiny.

Shortly after the death of the Queen Mother, the grieving Prince made the sad journey back to stay in the nostalgic house, where he was joined by Camilla.

Queen Mother at Birkhall
The Queen Mother, centre, during a ceremony at Birkhall in 1996 (Chris Bacon/PA)

Hidden from public view, the mansion dates to 1715 and was bought by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert for their son in 1849.

The Queen Mother, then the Duchess of York, first went there shortly after she married the Duke of York in 1923, when King George V suggested they use it as their Scottish home.

Charles’s parents, the Queen, then known as Princess Elizabeth, and the Duke of Edinburgh, spent part of their honeymoon at Birkhall in 1947, after first travelling to Broadlands in Hampshire to the home of Philip’s uncle Earl Mountbatten.

Charles and Camilla
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall opening a new playpark while honeymooning at Birkhall in 2005 (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Scottish mansion also played a crucial role in the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s romance when they were dating.

William and Kate enjoyed romantic breaks at the retreat, and reportedly told friends many of their happiest weekends were spent at the sanctuary.

In 2010, Camilla broke her left fibula while out hillwalking on the Balmoral estate.

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