Meghan skipped annual Balmoral trip for 'secret holiday' after Archie's birth

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Meghan skipped annual Balmoral trip for
Meghan skipped annual Balmoral trip for 'secret holiday' after Archie's birth

With the summer holidays in full swing, it is that time of year when the Royal Family head off on their traditional holiday to Balmoral.

This year's trip to the Scottish Highlands retreat will certainly be a bittersweet one as it marks the first summer since the death of the late Queen. However, it seems that King Charles is keen to carry on with most of the traditions associated with the getaway and will welcome family members for a stay at various points over the break.

It is expected that among those that will make the trip north will be the Prince and Princess of Wales with their children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, as well as Sophie and Edward, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh. However, one couple not expected at Balmoral is Prince Harry and Meghan Markle along with their children Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.

Meghan skipped annual Balmoral trip for 'secret holiday' after Archie's birth eideziqkeiqhhinvPrince Harry and Meghan Markle who skipped the Balmoral holiday with the royals in 2019 (Getty Images)

For Harry, holidaying in Balmoral over the summer was part and parcel of growing up as a royal - and he was at the estate in August 1997 when he heard the tragic news that his mother Princess Diana had died following a car crash in Paris. But during her time as a working royal, Meghan only managed one trip to Balmoral with the Queen - in 2018 in the months after she and Harry tied the knot.

The couple had been expected at Balmoral in 2019 with Archie, who was just a few months old at the time. However, they skipped the trip with author Tom Bower claiming in his explosive new book about Meghan and Harry, called Revenge, that Meghan felt Archie was "too young at three months to travel by plane to Scotland".

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Meghan skipped annual Balmoral trip for 'secret holiday' after Archie's birthHarry with older brother Prince William and dad King Charles at Balmoral in August 1997 (Mirrorpix)

But that doesn't mean that the couple shunned summer holidays that year shortly after welcoming Archie. In August 2019, Harry and Meghan reportedly took Archie on his first summer holiday to Ibiza. Reports in Spanish publications claimed Meghan, Harry and Archie flew to the Balearic island on a private plane and were accompanied by their normal security team. It then later emerged they also travelled to Nice shortly after for a short trip, where they stayed at Elton John's private villa.

Balmoral has taken on a new poignancy since the late Queen died there last September at the age of 96. However, the King has broken with tradition this year and is not spending the summer at Balmoral Castle. Instead, Charles and Queen Camilla have reportedly chosen Birkhall as their main base until autumn instead, leaving Balmoral without a monarch physically in residence for the first time since the 19th century.

Birkhall, the smaller private residence on the 50,000-acre Balmoral estate, is where the couple spent most of the Covid-19 lockdown and the King has called it "such a special place". He inherited it upon the death of the Queen Mother in 2002 and has diligently turned it into somewhere he and his wife Camilla can happily call home.

Sources told the Daily Mail the King and Queen will 'decamp' to the main castle for official visits, like that of the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf. Balmoral Castle will also host a rotating cast of other members of the Royal Family who are also expected to visit in August.

Jennifer Newton

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