Prince George's Summer Vacation at Balmoral: Outdoor Fun, Picnic Lunches
Even Prince George gets summer vacation! The royal tot, whose first birthday is Tuesday, July 22, is likely spending the warm months with his mum, dad, and other relatives at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, and Us Weekly has all of the details.
Continuing a centuries-long tradition, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are assumed to wind down this summer at the expansive estate in the picturesque Scottish hills. The stunning castle has been the royal family's since the 19th century and boasts a total area of 50,000 acres, including forestry and farmland grounds. The large land provides space for multiple members of the royal family, as Balmoral will likely also host Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, and Princess Anne, as well as guests.
The rural setting sets the tone for the activities in store for Prince William, Kate Middleton, and Prince George. The young prince will spend his days playing in the boat pool in the shallow banks of the River Dee.
The little beach at the bank, where he gets messy and splashes in the water, is the same spot where his father, Prince William, had his own fun as a child. As George gets older, former palace chef Darren McGrady tells Us Weekly exclusively that George will get the chance to "ride the estate on a bike, and horse-riding too."
Though he will be playing with "the usual kids toys" now, the prince will later transition to much more serious diversions. McGrady says the young royals start learning to hunt at Balmoral at "about 12 or 13." They take hunting guns, "jump in a Land Rover and go out rabbit shooting."
While it may be less refined than their time at the palace in London, the royal family still gets the royal treatment. McGrady tells Us, "there are about 100 staff at a time up there looking after the royal family." This staff may be slightly parsed down for the Duke and Duchess, as he added, "William and Kate are really independent and don¹t have a full time cook at the moment. They like to do their own bits in the kitchen."
As to what culinary confections are offered at Balmoral, the choices are endless. For breakfast "in the royal dining room it would be the more heavy, substantial dishes, like salmon kedgeree, poached kippers, kidneys, as well as the eggs and bacon," McGrady explains.
Midday, there is often a picnic lunch, consisting of "sandwiches and fruit, and plum pudding." The fruit is freshly picked as, "the Balmoral gardens are huge and they have the most amazing raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and Victoria plums."
The picnic lunch is followed by afternoon tea, with one large cake in the chocolate biscuit or honey and cream sponge variety, plain and fruit scones, two types of sandwiches such as meat or vegetarian cucumber, and pastries such as raspberry tartlets, chocolate eclairs, or Scottish shortbread fingers.
The formality of the royal family comes out at suppertime. "Everyone has to dress for dinner even if they don't have guests," McGrady tells Us. "The men usually wear kilts, it¹s really formal." However, when it isn't a sit-down dinner, the royals don "the tattiest, most casual dress you ever did see," and head outside to grill and barbecue.
For more on the royal vacation at Balmoral, pick up Us Weekly's collector's edition of Will & Kate: George's First Year on newsstands now!