VF: The Sussexes & Cambridges will probably visit Balmoral at the same time

Royals Xmas Day church

I kind of love that we’re in the late summer and instead of royal gossip being dead as a doornail, we’ve actually got some stuff to discuss. Do I wish that more royals would make appearances in August? Yes, I do. But I’ll settle for Balmoral Gossip, just because it’s actually a rare thing. Most years, we don’t get Balmoral gossip because even the bitchy royal courtiers are on holiday. But this year those same courtiers are having to navigate all of the *emotions* between various royal factions, which is why Katie Nicholl did this story for Vanity Fair. It looks like the Cambridges and Sussexes probably will be visiting Balmoral around the same time?

Family holidays are rarely straightforward, and the royals are no exception. Having returned from their somewhat controversial trip to Ibiza, Harry and Meghan are preparing for their first family trip to Scotland, when they will join the Queen at Balmoral… Vanity Fair has learned that courtiers have been planning meticulously to ensure the visits are as seamless as possible and that there are no family fireworks.

While the Sussexes are due to join the Queen and Prince Philip later this month in the main house, William and Kate are expected to stay in their own cottage Tam-na-Ghar, in the grounds of the estate. Given rumors of tension between the two families, that bit of distance could be fortuitous. “The Queen has a lot of guests coming and to ease the pressure the Cambridges are likely to stay at the cottage,” according to a source. “That could have added benefits for everyone as it means more space in the castle.” It would also mean that the Cambridges won’t be on top of the Sussexes should their visits coincide. William and Kate, who have recently returned from a break in Mustique, traditionally visit Balmoral in late August, which is when Harry and Meghan are also planning to go. Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis enjoy their stay with “Gan Gan,” who leaves presents on their bed as a welcome when they do reside in the castle.

Other guests include Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex and their two children, and Princess Anne. Prince Charles and Camilla stay at Birkhall, the late Queen Mother’s house in the grounds of the estate, but they are also regularly at Balmoral. “It can get quite busy at what they call ‘the big house’ and it’s not especially relaxing even though it’s a holiday,” adds the source. “There’s a daily routine which evolves around meal times, several outfit changes every day, sometimes five, and the Queen likes everything to run like clockwork. The focus is on being outdoors and in the countryside walking, grousing, fishing and hunting.”

Meghan is familiar with Balmoral, having stayed at the castle before; she spent time there with Harry during the early months of their courtship. But being the Queen’s guest, even with a baby in tow, requires another level of formality. Guests are expected to join the Queen and the Duke for barbecues whatever the weather, and assist with the clearing and washing up so that the Queen’s staff get to have a break between service.

“It’s the one time when the Queen is mostly off duty,” says royal historian Hugo Vickers. “The Queen loves her annual visit when she can stay in the same bed for weeks on end instead of moving around. Although her work goes on and the red boxes keep coming, along with the PM and other guests, it is a more gentle pace for her and her time is largely her own. The aides reduce the papers she has to read to just a few before lunch and tea so that she has plenty of time with her family.” As far as family are concerned, Vickers says, “They will all be on their best behavior. The Queen enjoys having her family around. She’s a grandmother and a great grandmother and she loves having her family come to stay with her.”

[From Vanity Fair]

I’m starting to believe that the Duke of York made his early appearance at Balmoral on purpose, because he didn’t want his visit to coincide with any of the other major royal figures. I also suspect that was fine with everybody else – no one wants to be seen with Andrew these days except the Queen, who is still protecting him. So the rest of the Queen’s holiday will be spent doing endless costume changes and hunting and spending a moderate amount of time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. With the Sussexes in the main house, I bet it will be a massive pain in the ass for Meghan, Harry and Archie to just have some quiet time. They’ll be too busy with the costume changes.


Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid and WENN.

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60 Responses to “VF: The Sussexes & Cambridges will probably visit Balmoral at the same time”

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  1. (TheOG)@Jan90067 says:

    A command performance like that seems like utter hell lol Even if they’re being “their kind” of “normal”, all of that scheduling, formality at meals (dressing, seating placements, time allotted for eating (can’t eat after TQ is finished)… seems exhausting! I’d need a vacation FROM this “vacation” lol.

    • Jumpingthesnark says:

      The rest of their lives are the “vacation after the vacation”.
      I’m in Texas, it is insanely hot. A vacation to Scotland sounds amazing right now. A few costume change isn’t bad, it isn’t like they have to do their own laundry/ironing.

  2. Seraphina says:

    That Kate death glare. DAMN!

  3. Powermoonchrystal says:

    “Somewhat controversial trip to Ibiza” vs “break in Mustyque”. We see you Katie N., we see you. The fact that the RRs have already reported 3 different times for the Sussexs to be at Balmoral, makes me seriously doubt these stories.

    • Feeshalori says:

      Yep, she had to slip that in. We see you indeed.

    • tww says:

      My first thought, too. What utter bs. Remind me again why a few days in Ibiza over her birthday is controversial, but 2 weeks at an extremely expensive mansion in Mustique is not.

      • (TheOG)@Jan90067 says:

        And neither, apparently, is an escape to Spain, on a private jet, by Pedo and his partner in crime, Fergie the Freeloader.

      • Lady D says:

        The masses seem to have forgotten that Meghan’s maternity leave is mirroring Kate’s.

      • Harla says:

        @Lady D, except that Meghan worked quite a bit out of public view during her maternity leave, guest-editing the September issue of UK Vogue. And I imagine she’s also been working with Harry on setting up their new foundation. Plus, she has a tour coming up.

      • Lady D says:

        I absolutely believe she has been working while on maternity leave. No doubt at all. I’m referring to the fact that she’s being called out for her lavish little trip, while Kate and William have done the same with each of their three. They don’t want to admit that Kate has done what they are slagging Meghan for.

    • Nic919 says:

      I caught that too and then checked who wrote it because sometimes Omid Scobie writes for Vanity Fair but he wouldn’t normally write such garbage. There is obvious bias when a five day trip to Ibiza is controversial and a two week stay at a private island in the Caribbean is not. This is what people are talking about when we say that Meghan doesn’t get the same treatment as Kate did. Kate went to Mustique with George as a young baby and there were no articles about it being controversial. Instead there was cooing over how big George was getting. Meanwhile Meghan gets attacked for the trip even though her Vogue edition revealed that she was even working during her mat leave.

      Until the RRs stop the different treatment they need to be called out.

    • Fluffy Princess says:

      I came to say just this thing! As others say, “We SEE you Katie.” And it’s not flattering.

      Yeah, it’s a good thing Andrew left. How uncomfortable would it be to be sitting around with Pedo Andy trying to make holiday small talk? UGH!!!

      Fergie the Freeloader!! That is truly it. So perfect. I think it’s hilarious that the mere mention of Prince Philip coming to town makes Fergie pack her bag and high tail it out. I imagine it like a cartoon with puffs of smoke trailing her because she’s moving so fast. The fact that a nearly 100 year old man strikes fear into her is funny to me.

    • Pants says:

      Never mind! I see it’s because Archie is too young. Whatever!

      Why is Sussex Ibiza vacation “controversial” again? I know it’s related to vacationing while black duchessing (sorry I can’t remember who coined the phrase to give credit) but what’s the RR’s reason? I can’t keep up!

  4. Becks1 says:

    wait wait wait. I thought they were purposely avoiding each other because Harry said he only wanted two kids and that was an insult to William and Meghan wasn’t on the cover of Vogue and that was an insult to Kate and it was DRAMA and they couldn’t be near each other.

    Whats that? No? that was just some tabloid nonsense? Sounds about right….

    Even the bit about Kate and William staying in a separate house makes sense to me. If you had a separate house available to you, why not stay in it and get some breathing room?

    • Lady D says:

      Balmoral has a total of 775 rooms, including 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms. There are also 150 buildings on the site. This VF article makes it sound like people are tripping over each other everywhere.
      OT: Is it me or could the place use more bathrooms? Based on the amount of buildings, bedrooms and offices, 78 doesn’t seem enough.

    • Guest says:

      But but but but.. I thought HM the Queen was supposed to be baking a special cake for Meghan’s birthday and they were all going to celebrate together because the whole family just loves her. Wait, what’s that? It was all garbage from the Sun and you believed it all. Reread your comments from that article lmao. Keep the same energy for the ‘negative’ articles from the tabloids too because you easily believe the positive ones from the tabloids because it suits your narrative.

  5. Melissa says:

    Didn’t another royal story say that the Cambridges were going to visit on another weekend to avoid the Sussexes? These royal reporters and sources know nothing about Harry and Meghan. They have no info about the Ibiza trip, and now they’re just making up controversy. The only people who are upset with M&H are the usual suspects. Most people don’t care about what the royals are doing.

  6. Islandgirl says:

    Why is it that she has to say that Harry and Meghan’s 6 day-trip was ‘somewhat controversial” while Will and Kate are simply back from their two-week break?

    Did Will and Kay fly commercial to Mustique?

    Ohhh the double standards!

    • Mumbles says:

      The problem is while both brothers appear to be equally selfish about using private planes, Harry is dumb enough to mouth off how concerned he is about the environment and making proclamations about how woke he is about it.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        Do any of the courtiers minding the BRF watch out for and advise on bad optics?

      • Nic919 says:

        William was the one who told people in Africa to not have a lot of kids while his wife was pregnant with number three. Harry was talking about himself and his own family. Besides William just went to Davos this year for a climate change discussion by public jet. Harry has recently been branded as woke by the media because that is the new insult from right wing media. William has promoted progressive issues like LGBT rights and the environment but he doesn’t get branded woke because his wife is a white English Rose. Both William and Harry can be accused of being hypocritical on not practicing what they are preaching, but only Harry gets attacked right now because having a biracial spouse is the biggest sin of all in the minds of the RRs.

    • Carolind says:

      Apparently William and Kate did fly commercial to Mustique. I forget what I was reading but in the comments there was one from a guy who said he had flown in the same plane as them to the Caribbean and about the nice kids they were.

      • Nic919 says:

        There are no direct commercial flights to Mustique because it is a private island so whoever is saying is that is excluding the private jet they take after the transatlantic flight.

  7. Spicecake38 says:

    LMAO, I Stopped reading at “That could have added benefits for everyone as it means more space at the castle.”
    Always hoping there’s enough space at my castle too.😅👑👑

  8. Anon says:

    “Somewhat controversial” trip to Ibiza.

    Katie Nicholl’s obvious bias against Meghan is starting to wear thin. After all, Mustique, FFS, is not exactly low brow, so why the tears and recriminations over a stupid holiday? I don’t know whether it’s because she’s a cryptoracist, typical British classism, or simply because Omid Scobie gets all the good scoops these days.

    Either way, apart from the fact that Katie Nicholl not the best writer in the world, her coverage of these non-stories is unprofessional and doesn’t really move the needle in any direction other than Nicholl’s own ego.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      There have been so many stories regarding the Sussexes and Balmoral that have turned out to be false that I believe the RRs are just making $hit up to fill column inche$ and generate click$ for $$$$$.

  9. pinkberry says:

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think the Sussexes will go to Balmoral this summer.

  10. Lene Malan says:

    These stories are becoming so tedious!!

  11. Ertia says:

    The stories can be as all-sunshine-and-rainbows as they want, clearly there’s going to be a big pow-wow about what to do about Andrew.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      @Erita, Do you think the QEII goes to her family for advice of just Charles & Philip?

      • Ertia says:

        I don’t think QE is asking for advice. If she were willing to listen to advice, we wouldn’t have those photos of her grinning in the car with Andrew.

        I think everyone being together (minus Andrew) is an opportunity for discussion of putting up a united front, I think most younger guests will express a desire not to be in the same room as him (especially alongside photographers) anytime soon, and I think Charles may start to explain to Paedo-Protecting Lizzy that he needs to distance himself from Andrew even if she doesn’t.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        @Erita, Thanks for your opinion. I hope Charles does take the lead on this mess.

    • Redgrl says:

      Not a pow-wow, guys, I don’t think they’re having a traditional First Nations celebration…

  12. TheOriginalMia says:

    What in the world was controversial about Ibiza? Oh, the private plane. Yet, the private plane to take the Cambridges and Middletons to Mystique wasn’t. Moving on.

    Also…the Cambridges have had their own place at Balmoral for years, so they were always going to stay at their home. They were never going to stay with the Queen at the main house.

    • Susan says:

      I’m not sure why everyone is playing dumb to the real issue that the articles are pointing to. No one reallycares if royalty wants to take private planes. They are royalty and have money and although it’s bad for the environment, most people recognize they would avail themselves of the benefits of wealth given the opportunity. The difference is that the Sussexes have plastered their Instagram with pro-environment screeds and Harry has taken to lecturing the everyday person about their environmental excesses. So it’s the hypocrisy that is drawing the criticism, not the use of the plane. And complaining that others don’t get the same treatment in the media ignores the fact that it’s the hypocrisy which is at issue.

      • lanne says:

        William has made lots of environmental statements as well. Got any hypocrisy charges to lob his way? That’s the difference.

      • RoyalBlue says:

        Oh please stop with the nonsense now. Is it hypocrisy to criticize hunting animals while wearing leather shoes? Is it hypocrisy to criticize the excessive use of plastic as a doctor while wearing plastic gloves and syringes? Some things just can’t be avoided 100%. We can all insist on taking care of the environment but we can never do it 100%. It is impossible. Harry gets a pass. He does not own a plane he is not the most prolific flier in the family either. And guess what, air flights are projected to increase in the future so unless you can figure out how to fly an electric plane you would be best to pick another fight. I applaud him for asking everyone to do their part to protect our world.

      • Mego says:

        It’s the kind of hypocrisy I see all the time. I notice the really ardent environmentalists are particularly fond of travel and air travel in particular. Yet will give average Jane heck for using a plastic bag at a grocery store.

        Honest, integral environmentalism requires a great deal of sacrifice, willingness to change and a willingness to dialogue and not lecture.

      • Smices says:

        William just flew by private plane to Davis to lecture about the environment with Attenborough. Crickets from the media and stans.

    • Mego says:

      At issue here is the media bias toward scapegoating and criticizing the Sussexes for many things that other royals do. As others pointed out William, doing the very same thing, gets glossed over in favour of the current media punching bags Harry and Meghan.

  13. Jumpingthesnark says:

    Wonder if Charles ordered both the Camds and Sussexes up there at the same time, to help QE2s optics after the church/ pap stroll with pedo Andy and the resultant outrage. Grandmama on holiday with the grands and great grands sounds so much more wholesome. I’m thinking this is a Charles PR move

  14. Peg says:

    Katie Nicholl, enough said, when is Vanity Fair going to realize, that KN don’t have any inside scoops on the Sussexes , everything she write about turn out to be lies, raising a gender fluid child.
    And the whooper before this one, the list that was handed out on the Sussexes behalf, to the neighbors, turns out one of the neighbors wrote the list as a prank, and they all knew it was a prank and gave it to KN because she was looking for a story.
    He said who would believe this story, since he put dropping stuff through the letterbox, when ever one knows you can’t get close to Frogmore Cottage, he didn’t realize the Lemmings he was dealing with.

    • Smices says:

      That was Emily Andrews.

    • marjorie says:

      Vanity Fair really lowered its standards when it started printing her drivel. If this is a sign of things to come maybe I should cancel my subscription. Hopefully her latest masterpiece is only for the online version and won’t show up in the printed copy. I’ve only heard of her in connection with royal gossip – was she a news reporter before that?

  15. A says:

    I don’t think that Harry and Meghan are really going on this vacation with the expectation of quiet time. They all know what is required of them up at Balmoral, and if they want to spend some down time with the Queen, they’ll do it.

    It’s so funny to me that Andrew has taken off now that he’s gotten what he wanted from his mother, which is a photo-op and a public show of support. And by funny, I mean infuriating and depressing. I’m getting only a slight bit of enjoyment from the fact that he’s “sh-tting himself” at the prospect of accountability, and the fact that this photo-op backfired on him so spectacularly. F-ck you Andrew, and f-ck the Queen and anyone who thought this might be okay.

  16. February Pisces says:

    It’s funny how the Cambridge’s trip to Mustique is about 4 times the distance from uk-Ibiza, was twice as long in duration and had more people on it. I don’t remember them flying commercial either. The Cambridge’s are literally spending 4times the amount on holidays than the Sussex and H+Ms trip was ‘controversial’. Just like how h+m cause ‘controversy’ renovating Frogmore even though it was pretty much derelict, but it’s ok for the Cambridge’s to spend millions on each of their 2 homes. Also why do they need two homes anyway, I wonder 🤔 ?

    • Guest says:

      Most people I know have 2 homes. I’m sorry you don’t come from that type of social circle, where finances aren’t an issue, but it’s quite normal, I assure you.

      • Becks1 says:

        It is not quite normal. Sorry. It’s not. It may be normal in a “type of social circle” but its not normal across the board. And what a snarky comment besides.

      • February Pisces says:

        @guest They were ‘gifted’ 2 homes for free, H+m got 1. And most people don’t ‘live’ in 2 homes in full time, unless you maybe have a mistress, lol.