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Scotland

Balmoral Castle

  • Earlier Houses: The original 15th century Balmoral Castle was demolished to make way for the current house.

    House & Family History: Balmoral Castle is the Scottish home of the royal family. It is a personal property of the monarch and not a crown property (like Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse). Balmoral was the property of Anne Gordon and her descendants until 1798, when the estate was sold to the 2nd Earl Fife. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, frequent visitors to the Highlands, decided to purchase a holiday home there in the mid-19th century, when Prince Albert bought the Balmoral Estate in 1852 for Queen Victoria. The original 15th century Balmoral Castle was deemed too small and a new castle was built 100 yards to the north of the original castle. Prince Albert helped with the design; it was completed in 1856 and is built of local granite in the Scottish Baronial style. Albert and Victoria adored the Highlands and enjoyed many happy times here; even after Albert's death in 1861, it remained one of Victoria's favorite residences. Balmoral is today the summer holiday home of the royal family and is not open to the public when the family is in residence.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: Prince Albert laid out the original design of the grounds. In the late 20th century the Duke of Edinburgh, consort of Elizabeth II, enlarged the flower and vegetable garden and created the water garden. Balmoral is today a working estate of over 50,000 acres that employs approximately 50 full-time staff and an additional 50 to 100 part-time staff. It is privately owned and funded by the king.

  • Architect: William Smith

    Date: 1852-56
    Designed: House, under direction of Prince Albert

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    Architect: Robert Rowand Anderson

    Date: 1902
    Designed: Alterations to House and Estate for King Edward VII (for which he was knighted)

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  • House Listed: Category A

    Park Listed: Category A

  • "The Queen" (2006 - exteriors only).
  • Current Seat / Home of: King Charles III

    Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT EARLIER HOUSE: Gordon family, until 1798. James Duff, 2nd Earl Fife, 1798-1809; Alexander Duff, 3rd Earl Fife, 1809-11; James Duff, 4th Earl Fife, 1811-56. SEATED AT CURRENT HOUSE: Queen Victoria, 1856-1901; King Edward VII, 1901-10; King George V, 1910-17; Saxe-Coburg-Gotha family here from 1856 until 1917, when George V changed the family name to Windsor. King George V, 1917-36; King Edward VIII, 1936; King George VI, 1936-52; Queen Elizabeth II, 1952-2022.

    Current Ownership Type: The Crown / Royal Family

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

    Ownership Details: Owned by the king, and used as a holiday home by the royal family. The estate is open to the public when the royal family is not in residence.

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01339-742-334

    Fax: 01339-742-034

    Email: info@balmoralcastle.com

    Website: https://www.balmoralcastle.com/

    Historic Houses Member: No