Queen's first holiday without Prince Philip will be especially hard for heartbreaking reason

(Image credit: Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The Queen has traveled to Scotland for her first holiday since losing Prince Philip and it’s said her time at Balmoral will be especially “hard” for a heartbreaking reason. 

The Queen has left Windsor Castle and headed to Scotland for her first summer holiday at Balmoral Castle since Prince Philip’s death in April. The royal couple were married for 73 years and his loss has been deeply felt by his family and changed the monarchy as we know it. After a period of royal mourning, the Queen resumed royal duties earlier this year.

Despite her immense grief at her husband's loss, the Queen has been pictured beaming recently as it's said she’s appreciating a return to in-person engagements after the UK's lockdown

However, whilst engagements might have cheered Her Majesty during what has been a very difficult year for The Firm, without Prince Philip's unique approach to their Balmoral trip, this year's summer break will likely be tinged with great sadness. 

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in a field with some highland cattle at Balmoral, Scotland, 1972

She and Prince Philip regularly stayed in the Scottish highlands for 12 weeks during the summer. The royal couple even invited their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to join them, enjoying some quiet time as a family. 

Now the Queen faces a Balmoral holiday without her late husband and the considerate way he took charge on these trips. Opening up to OK! magazine, royal expert Duncan Larcombe reflected on how Philip’s presence allowed his royal wife to really “relax” for the summer. 

"She'll have regular guests to stay at the estate,” he explained. “But it will still be hard. Philip really loved to take control of festivities at Balmoral. He allowed her to sit back and relax."

And Philip’s hosting prowess hasn’t gone unnoticed over the years. Royal author Ingrid Seward previously revealed to OK! that the Duke of Edinburgh loved taking charge of the grill when they held barbeques, whilst picnics were a frequent occurrence. 

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh with their children, Prince Andrew (centre), Princess Anne (left) and Charles, Prince of Wales sitting on a picnic rug outside Balmoral Castle in Scotland

“There are endless picnics, too, day and night,” she claimed. “When the staff have their night off, the royals trundle off in the Range Rover for a candlelit picnic dinner in one of the wooden huts, which were built for Queen Victoria.”

“They transport the picnic in a special picnic carrier designed by Prince Philip. It contains individual boxes for knives, forks and so on – everything’s in its rightful place.”

Though this year’s Balmoral trip will undoubtedly be difficult for the Queen, she will likely draw great comfort from these wonderful memories of holidays past. 

Emma Shacklock
Senior Lifestyle Writer

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, Goodto.com, and My Imperfect Life.