Duchess of Cornwall, honeymoon in Scotland

The Duchess of Cornwall enjoyed a honeymoon in on Royal Deeside in Scotland.

Birkhall

The Duchess of Cornwall spent her honeymoon at Birkhall. It waas built in 1715, and was bought from the Abergeldie family in 1849 by Queen Victoria, a year after she took the lease on Balmoral. It is on the borders of the Balmoral estate in Royal Deeside, but private and self-contained, overlooking a garden and River Muick. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother described it as "a small big house, or a big small house".

From about 1930, King George V lent it to the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth) who redecorated it and planned the gardens.

There have been six royal honeymoons at Birkhall, including that of the Queen and Prince Philip in 1947. Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip also used it during the last years of her father's reign. On her accession, the Queen moved to Balmoral eight miles away, and the Queen Mother moved into Birkhall again, adding a six-bedroom wing. And the Queen Mother would return to Birkhall every spring for a week or 10 days for the salmon-fishing.

Princess Alexandra and Angus Ogilvy honeymooned there in 1968 as did Princess Margaret's daughter, Sarah Chatto, much later. Prince Charles took Lady Diana Spencer there before he proposed to her. And it was at Birkhall that Tom and Laura Parker Bowles were introduced to the Princes William and Harry.

The Duchess of Cornwall's father, Major Bruce Shand, is a favoured guest.

Prince Charles has fled to Birkhall to get away from the memories of Gordonstoun boarding as a teenager, and later from the problems a collapsing marriage to Diana. And for a number of years before his marriage to her, brought Camilla here. He has always enjoyed the fishing, deer stalking, painting watercolours and hill walking at Birkhall.

The Wales' have now refurbished the house with interior designer Robert Kine, who also modernised Clarence House and York House. It has been described as having been "tidied up" rather than made over. The tartan walls and tartan floors from the Queen Mother's day remain, Spy cartoons hang in the passages and there are lot of outdoor clothes on chapel hat-pegs.

In the dining room the Queen Mother's collection of 11 grandfather clocks remain, where they stop all conversation as they chime not quite in unison on the hour.

Guests at the honeymoon

Charles and Camilla, styled the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay when they are in Scotland, had been together at Birkhall just before their wedding to avoid the press frenzy over the event.

It was a second wedding for each, and their honeymoon took the form of a house party at Birkhall for the "honeymoon fortnight". They invited a group of of people that they feel most comfortable with.

Camilla's younger sister, Annabel Elliot, was one of the guests. Mrs Elliot, an interior designer, is two years younger than Camilla, they were close as children and have remained so. As a friend remarked: "It may seem unusual to take your sister on honeymoon, but Charles and Camilla are not 25-year-olds. Honeymoons don't have quite the same meaning."

And after the sojourn at Birkhall?

The rehabilitation seems to be over and its onto patronage and royal duties

Honeymoon Duchess of Cornwall

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