Queen Elizabeth II arrives for the opening of the sixth session of the Scottish Parliament on October 02, 2021 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The ceremony, which opened the new session of the devolved Scottish government, paid tribute to “local heroes” from across Scotland who have supported their communities throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
(Image credit: Getty)

The Queen has bid farewell to her summer home Balmoral Castle and returned to Windsor Castle for the winter. 

The Queen headed to Scotland in July of this year to enjoy her annual summer break at Balmoral, just months after losing her husband of 73 years (opens in new tab), Prince Philip.

It's believed her visit to the iconic royal residence was able to allow her to finally mourn the death of Prince Philip (opens in new tab), following his passing at Windsor Castle in April.

After her Balmoral break, the monarch usually heads back to London's Buckingham Palace to resume her duties, but is now expected to remain at Windsor Castle for the foreseeable future.

The next time the Queen swaps houses will likely be in December, when she travels to Norfolk's Sandringham estate so she can celebrate a traditional Christmas with the royal family.

The Queen and Prince Philip Host The President Of Malta BALMORAL, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 16: (NO UK USE FOR 28 DAYS) Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh wait to receive the President of Malta, Dr Edward Fenech-Adami and his wife, Mary while on holiday at Balmoral Castle on August 16, 2005 in Balmoral, Scotland. (Photo by ROTA/Anwar Hussein Collection/Getty Images)

Credit: Getty

It's thought that 2021 was one of the Queen's first summers at Balmoral without Prince Philip by her side. However she was reportedly kept company by close members of The Firm (opens in new tab) such as her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren (opens in new tab), with the likes of Prince Charles, Prince William, Kate Middleton and the Cambridge kids plus Princess Eugenie and baby August paying visits.

Shortly after Philip's death, Her Majesty even shared an unseen, personal photograph of her and the Duke of Edinburgh enjoying one of many Balmoral summers.

The photo was taken by her daughter-in-law, Sophie Wessex, and shows the couple grinning side by side, enjoying a picnic on the Aberdeenshire hills.

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"The Queen wishes to share this private photograph taken with The Duke of Edinburgh at the top of the Coyles of Muick, Scotland in 2003. 📷Photograph by The Countess of Wessex," a caption beside the rare snap said.

"Her Majesty and the Royal Family are grateful for all the messages of condolence from around the world and have been touched to see and hear so many people sharing fond memories of The Duke, in celebration of his life," the touching message continued.

Since December 2020, Kudzai Chibaduki has worked as a trainee journalist at FUTURE, capturing all fashion, entertainment, and beauty content for the Lifestyle websites, as well as contributing to the shopping sections for Goodto.com's widely read online magazine. Kudzai previously worked as a freelance fashion wardrobe stylist, directing magazine photoshoots and coordinating the fashion direction of recording artists.