Queen Elizabeth’s aides feel like they’re in a ‘prison camp’ in isolation at Balmoral

The Queen attends a ceremony to mark her Official Birthday

As an American, I have no place to talk about how other countries are handling the pandemic. America is a viral mess and we’re more than four months into it and we still don’t have a national plan. It’s the worst. America is absolutely worse off than the UK. But the UK is still grappling with business closings, mask mandates, social distancing protocols and more. Which is why I think it’s weird that the Queen is still hellbent on traveling to Balmoral this week. Liz of House Petty has been in relative isolation at Windsor Castle since late March, with a skeleton staff of royal household staffers and aides looking after her and Prince Philip. She’s been riding horses and not much else, which has led some commentators (like Andrew Morton) to suggest that Liz’s reign is effectively over, because now everyone can see how unimportant she actually is to the nation. So why underline that uselessness by “going on vacation” to Scotland? And why put dozens of additional staffers through strict isolation protocols just because she wants to be useless somewhere else?

Royal aides are despairing that their Covid-secure sleeping quarters in Balmoral are like a ‘Colditz prison camp’. A group of servants have travelled up to the Scottish home of the Royal Family ahead of the Queen and Prince Philip’s arrival this summer.

The hand-picked team of aides are in a two-week quarantine as they prepare the castle and some have found conditions wanting. Staff have been banned from social activity and the annual Ghillies Ball has also been cancelled due to coronavirus.

An insider said ‘stir-crazy’ aides are staying in the New Block, a dull granite building with a dozen bedrooms outside near the castle. The insider said: ‘Without all the normal facilities which make a stay pleasant for staff, everyone’s saying it’s like being in Colditz, the prisoner of war camp. It’s the assignment from hell because there is absolutely nothing people can do. The social club remains shut and the staff bar closed. With so little to do they’re going stir-crazy.’

The insider told The Sun aides are unable leave the castle grounds to visit local shops and pubs. Three chefs, footmen, housemaids, pages and under-butlers are among the staff already currently residing at Balmoral. Her Majesty, 94, and Philip, 99, are expected at the residence within days and will stay for 12 weeks.

[From The Daily Mail]

Balmoral is actually a “private residence” of the sovereign and so the household staff are private. But because she’s the Queen, she also needs palace-employees to fuss around her government business. So she’ll probably have more people around her, in the Balmoral bubble, than she did at Windsor Castle. Not to mention, she expects her family to travel up to see her at Balmoral too. Prince Andrew, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, probably Prince Charles and Camilla, they’ll all be coming up at some point in August and September. Which, again, why? Why do this during a pandemic? Why put all of those staffers through the misery? It’s all so unnecessary (which sort of describes the royal family entirely).

I bet Liz won’t wear a mask either.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit the London Ambulance Service during the Coronavirus crisis!

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Buckingham Palace.

Related stories

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

44 Responses to “Queen Elizabeth’s aides feel like they’re in a ‘prison camp’ in isolation at Balmoral”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. notasugarhere says:

    One of the many things that needs to be investigated? The use of taxpayer-funded staff to serve Liz while she’s at one of her private homes. And taxpayer-funded security to secure that massive estate.

    She is a government employee with government housing. That’s where she should live. She chooses to live elsewhere for months every year? She should have to pay for all staff and security on those private residences out of her private deep pockets. This includes W&K’s security at Anmer (on private Sandringham Estate) which should be paid by Liz personally.

    BTW, whinging, leaking, racist, abusive royal staff? I’d love to be quarantined on a 50,000 acre (20,000 hectare) Scottish estate.

    • Kitten says:

      Sauce and sensibility: Everything in this comment? Spot on, and I really, really can’t wait until Scotland leaves for the EU. Will Petty Betty need a passport? Stay tuned!

  2. Rapunzel says:

    Oh noes, the staff bar and social club are shut! Will someone save these poor sausages from this prison like hellhole? It’s too awful for words… no shops or pubs!

    I swear, if I hear one more complaint from entitled losers that lockdowns are like jail, with people “cooped up” and going “stir crazy” I think I might lose my mind. Some people have zero fortitude.

    Dear royal staff, your ancestors lived through the Blitz, with rations and nights spent in tube stations. You can freaking put up with no staff bar for a few months, you babies.

    It’s no wonder the staff are so entitled though, given who their employer is.

    Cheer up, staff, I’m sure PedoAndy will bring you something from the Woking Pizza Express when he comes for his pap walk at church or riding with Mummy.

  3. This is really not the time for HM and her staff to be complaining about anything. Balmoral is nothing like a prison camp and this is really not the time to complain about anything regarding her own domestic situation. She has vast numbers of rooms, has endless money, and specially prepared gourmet food. She really should not be complaining about anything. A prison camp is nothing like a palace and as for government funding, royals have always used government monies for their own gain and gratification.

  4. Lori says:

    Old bag

  5. ArtHistorian says:

    So now isolating at a royal estate is like being confined in an infamous prison camp run by the Nazis? These people really lack perspective, the level of tone-deafness is insane!

    • Lizzie says:

      If the infamous palace courtiers are along then maybe this is accurate. I would not want to be locked up with those vipers.

  6. Dimsum Mum says:

    I find this comparison to be in extremely poor taste.

  7. Pork chops & Apple sauce says:

    It definitely shows tone deafness, to be sure. I’m not a big fan of QE’s, but she has been doing this for a vast majority of her life and she might very well believe this could be her last summer with her husband, family, herself, intact. Maybe it’s a swan song of sorts for her to travel to her beloved Balmoral one last time?

    • BnLurkN4eva says:

      Once she reached a certain age, this is every year. There’s always excuse for these people’s actions. One can find a reason for anything, doesn’t justify it. She need to remain at Windsor and everyone can go see her there if they like. The whole world is disrupted, it’s the way things are at present. This woman need to step away from the power that is all her reign is and let it pass on to someone else.

  8. Elizabeth Regina says:

    I’m just waiting to see how this is Meghan’s fault!

    • Olenna says:

      IKR. No one forced to them to take these low-paying staff jobs with no glory except for the glee they feel lying to the tabloids about the biracial duchess. Let their uppity asses freeze.

  9. Mac says:

    Given their advanced age, this may be the last visit HM and Philip make to Balmoral.

    • 809Matriarch says:

      OMG. This may well be her last visit. That’s what people beat Meghan and Harry over the head with last summer when they stayed at Elton John’s home in Nice. I suppose EVERY SINGLE big event will have “may well be the last [fill in the blank] until they eventually kick the bucket. Olivia de Havilland just checked out of the planet at the age of 104. The dentally challenged Queen-Mother lived to 101. As soon as she and Phil depart, they will start banging on about how old Charles is and how it could be HIS last blah blah blah.

    • Nic919 says:

      It’s not like Windsor is a dump. She could stay there and make a sacrifice like so many of her people are doing. But she’s not like her parents during the blitz. Old Liz wants what she wants and doesn’t care who it affects.

      That said the complaints about being in quarantine are pathetic and it’s not like Balmoral is Colditz. These courtiers need to get a grip.

  10. MerlinsMom1018 says:

    *Looking up sympathy in the dictionary*
    Ahhhhh there it is right between sh** and syphilis…
    Same folk out and out being openly racist re: the Sussex’s now wants us to feel bad because they can’t go to the pubs or shops?????
    get outta here with that

  11. Esme says:

    “Why?” Because she’s the Queen and she can do as she pleases, and she doesn’t need to concern herself with the opinions of her staff. It’s privilege in action.
    And honestly it’s somewhat less hypocritical to see the monarch ordering people around rather than the “nice granny” image we’ve been sold all these years. If she’s to be the last Queen, she can Queen until the end… (and she’ll be judged, of course, on her actions).

    • Va Va Kaboom says:

      You’re right, she’s going entitle the institution into extinction. Although they’ll probably still have a more obscenely privileged existence than the rest of the world. I do wonder if the top staff are drawing straws for who gets to have the “Come to Jesus” moment with Petty Betty and the House of Whingers. Because they don’t seem to recognize how truly precarious the situation is already.

      Maybe they should start that conversation with a quick history lesson about how and why nearly half of the European monarchies were abolished by the mid-20th century? The parallels of economic hardship, social upheaval, and world wide cataclysmic events are not subtle so….

  12. Sunday says:

    We always knew that the courtiers and staff leaked to the press, but this goes above and beyond. They’re being so obvious! They are no longer behind the scenes pulling strings, they are front and center.

    It’s possible that this is just a barrage of stories planted to distract from Andrew, but to me the nature of the spin is off. Do these stories distract? Well, yes, but only to make the palace look even more incompetent, that they’re allowing the courtiers to run amok, that they’ve lost control.

    Looking at today’s coverage of Angela Kelly, and the courtiers confirming they’d welcome Harry if we abandoned his wife and child, I think it’s important to consider the larger media strategy and implications therein. THERE ARE ONLY THREE OPTIONS:

    OPTION 1: The Queen has given her blessings for these leaks to occur.
    OPTION 2: These leaks are occurring without the Queen’s knowledge.
    OPTION 3: These leaks are occurring against the explicit wishes of the Queen.

    That’s it. Those are the only options. The Queen is the reigning monarch, and the buck stops with her. If Clarence House or Kensington Palace are intervening, then it is the responsibility of the monarch and Buckingham Palace to address the problem or face the consequences.

    If she gave her blessing, then she is directly responsible for running H&M out and is the petty Betty we suspect. If she has no idea that these stories are running in the press, because she relies on her staff to compile her briefcase of articles and notes for her and they’re simply omitting anything that makes them look bad to construct the narrative for her eyes as they see fit, then she is an incompetent monarch and should step down. If it’s happening against her will, then what blackmail do they have that would make the queen so powerless to her own staff?

    I don’t believe for a second that the Queen fell on her own sword here and made herself the subject of tabloid gossip to distract from Andrew, no way. Why damage her own reputation when she has Harry and Meghan to throw under the bus?? So option 1 is out – this leak didn’t come from her, which leaves options 2 and 3. I think keeping this approach in mind when analyzing future stories may be more helpful in figuring out what’s really going on, instead of focusing on each individual story.

  13. Jan says:

    Darwin awards for everyone!

  14. Catherine says:

    Frankly, this is how I run my house because I have an infant. I’m the only “Prisoner” – lol. “We are isolated but we are SAFE.” It is my mantra, it is how I got through the past four months, with no end in sight. The Queen’s employees are free to quit. Therefore, they are not in prison. Professional athletes are paid millions, are free to quit. Therefore, they are not slaves.
    It’s an insult to history when people throw these words around.

  15. Lisa says:

    Tone deaf.

  16. Becks1 says:

    This is really tone deaf and I’m surprised the Daily Mail ran this story, to be honest, because it does make the Queen look really bad. Also, it serves as a reminder of how much staff she has JUST FOR HER.

  17. Jaded says:

    I’m just waiting to see if the Pedo Prince sneaks up there to ‘get away from it all’. I’m sure Charles and Camilla and the Lamebridges wouldn’t want to be there at the same time. More sealed documents are supposed to drop today and I imagine, even if they’re still redacted, they’ll contain more proof of his so-called “non-relationships” with Maxwell and Epstein.

  18. Lowrider says:

    But, but Harry lives in 14 room MANSION!!!!

    • Sarah says:

      That COST $18M (or something) and belongs to TYLER PERRY (a BLACK MAN for those not paying close enough attention in the racist seats at the back)

    • Nic919 says:

      I’m sorry, you need to call it BLACK RAPPER TYLER PERRY’S $18 MILLION DOLLAR MANSION otherwise we won’t know what you are talking about.

  19. Jay says:

    One thread that’s been consistent in all of the stories on the site today is that bad people will always and forever tell on themselves.

  20. Faye G says:

    I can’t believe I used to admire this woman. What is selfish, racist, awful excuse for a human being. I hope the monarchy is abolished after she passes.

  21. D Swearingin says:

    I too am sick of hearing poor me from people locked down on freaking estates!! Try living in a one bedroom apartment with a 5 year old since the beginning of March!!! Enough with these entitled jerks

  22. Amy Too says:

    So her staff are forced to go up there for two weeks and quarantine themselves outside of the Big House, in some kind of temporary(?) servants housing on the Estate somewhere before she gets there so that they’re safe to be around the Queen. What about her and her family though? It doesn’t sound like she’ll be quarantining herself for two weeks when she gets there so as not to get the staff sick. And will Charles and Camilla and Pedo Andy and Will and Kate all have to quarantine themselves for two weeks once they arrive at Balmoral before they’re allowed to see the Queen and hang out together? Unlikely. Why not? We know that Charles, Camilla, Will, and Kate have been traveling all over the place, for work and leisure, meeting with people without masks, hosting events, going to events. The Queen and Philip were are Bea’s wedding and the Queen did some knighting. Do they get tested every single day to make sure they’re safe and to get around the annoyance of having to quarantine themselves? Why can’t they just test the staff, then as well?

  23. Linda says:

    What the Queen wants, the Queen gets.

  24. Jaded says:

    Well crap…Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers have won the fight to keep the documents that were supposed to be opened today sealed. Apparently they’ll remain sealed pending a hearing in September because “she won’t get a fair trial if everyone sees what’s contained in them” which probably contains more dirt on Prince Pedo who will likely be cooling his heels with mummy at Balmoral. What a let-down.

  25. A says:

    So, does no one in the 30 ft vicinity of the royal family know of literally any other PoW camps aside from Colditz?? For a segment of the population such as the Queen’s staffers, who I assume run more towards the Tory Brexit side of the aisle, the fact that their general knowledge of World War 2 is just so lacking, so uninspired and boring, that they can’t name anything aside from the Blitz, Colditz, and Normandy, is just sad. They can’t throw in a reference to Stalag Luft III here and there, just to keep it fresh?

    Joking aside, this is just such sh-tty poor taste, it’s not even funny. Look, ya’ll, you signed up for this job. You signed up for this job, in spite of the terrible pay (which you all complain about a GREAT deal btw), because you claim to care so much about the institution and the people you’re serving.

    And you’re sitting here complaining about the precautions being taken to keep these old people safe? After all that huff about how you don’t do it for the money, but the glory?

    Not to mention, do they know just how many people in Britain have been suffering as a result of these restrictions? Families who couldn’t go to funerals, people who died alone in hospitals, far away from their loved ones, because of covid restrictions. Some of the stories are just desperately heartbreaking, it’s beyond belief.

    And these snotty, lying pack of mfers, who’d sell their own mom to the press if they could get an inch of column space for their incessant b-tching about how it’s just “SO HARD” to go without the ghillies ball and the staff pub, are really complaining without a shred of irony or self-reflection. F-ck every last one of them. I can’t even say anything else, I’m so angry.

  26. Marigold says:

    1.) You have a cush job with clout working for the Queen herself. Shut up. People have lost businesses, homes, and all sense of financial security during isolation. Pour yourself a mimosa and sit down.
    2.) The fact that ANYONE would have the audacity to bring up a Nazi death camp as comparison for working under a German queen of the UK is…well, they shouldn’t have a job today.
    3.) The fact that ANYONE even has the thought enter their minds to compare being isolated for an epidemic to a Nazi death camp makes me wonder if the state of education in the UK is actually worse than I assumed it to be.
    4.) I didn’t see the Queen complaining. Only her servants…the same ones who complained that when Meghan showed up in the family, she actually expected them to work.

    Just shut up and sit down…in your palace in Scotland.

    • ArtHistorian says:

      Colditz wasn’t a death camp – it was a prison camp for British officers and it was located in a castle. Hence the reference to Colditz in the first place – a castle that the Nazis used as a prison for enemy officers.

      • Marigold says:

        Oh thank goodness. Sigh. I feel so much better about it now. THANK YOU. It’s still utterly ridiculous, but I read it incorrectly. It really upset me (as my comment above makes clear). I’m so glad you clarified.

      • ArtHistorian says:

        Now, if the staff really want to stick to the Colditz comparison, then they have to put together various daring escape plans. Colditz is also famous for the ingenious ways young British officers attempted to escape it.

  27. blunt talker says:

    Just a little side note-people are really wising up about Prince Andy’s part with the young girls-everytime something is said about Prince Andy, Ms. Maxwell, or Epstein-the British press start talking about Meghan and Harry- Someone just stated a lot of the british so called press will print the story but won’t allow comments about the article. Anything on Meghan and Harry gets lots of comments mostly negative no matter what the article is about-there is a running theme here-smart people are beginning to pick up on it-When anything negative comes out about Andrew we will write something negative about Harry and Meghan. I have seen this done many times in the last year mostly. The royal family is using Meghan and Harry to distract from the ugly mess involving Prince Andrew. Any respectable journalist can follow the bread crumbs, if I can see it. It has been stated that the Queen will not give Andy up no matter what he has done and no matter how much is revealed about his dealings with Epstein.

  28. yinyang says:

    The royal palace is always complaining, but in the end the headlines will say they took it like champs. But the one person that never complained even near mental breakdown, they’ll say was demanding and whining.