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New images show the Queen relaxing at Balmoral

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  • by RORY REYNOLDS
 

BEHIND-the-scenes images of the Queen have been released showing how the monarch likes to relax at Balmoral.

The pictures show the private sitting room at the retreat on Royal Deeside, decorated with china ornaments, a tartan rug and pictures of her family in mismatched frames.

With all the cosiness of a grandmother’s front room, there is clutter, old armchairs, air freshener sticks, and newspapers and magazines.

And there is even a cushion embroidered with the words: “It’s good to be Queen.”

Documentary-maker Michael Waldman was granted access to the Royal household for the Diamond Jubilee year of 2012 for Our Queen, which will be broadcast by ITV this weekend.

Aside from capturing the grandeur of the Scots Baronial-style castle, the modest furnishings of her private quarters are also on show.

Prime Minister David Cameron told the makers of the landmark documentary: “It’s quite informal in that you turn up and the family’s doing whatever the family’s doing . . . and there is a little bit of choice about whether you want to go and ride a horse or try and catch a fish or go for a walk.”

In reference to accusations last year that he spent too much time “chillaxing” by playing tennis and singing karaoke, Mr Cameron added: “Even though the Royal Family are on holiday, there isn’t much what you would call downtime, there’s not much chillaxing at Balmoral, they’re very active.”

Cameras were granted access to normally confidential meetings, and featured the first televised interview with a serving private secretary, Edward Young.

Beloved by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Balmoral remains a favourite residence for the Queen and her family during the summer holiday period in August and September.

In an article for the Radio Times, director Mr Waldman described the monarch as “houseproud”, telling how at Buckingham Palace she used her foot to straighten the simple two-bar electric fire while waiting for the Prime Minister to arrive for his weekly audience.

And he wrote: “After months of filming her encounters during an eventful Jubilee year, I noticed that she has another trick: she never says ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’, which must save thousands of words a day.”

Mr Waldman also praised the Queen’s powers of concentration and memory, writing of how she had to help the Duke of Edinburgh during the Sovereign Monarchs’ lunch at Windsor Castle last year.

“There are so many kings and queens in the house that, at one point, Prince Philip loses track of which is which,” he wrote.

“‘No, that was Kuwait,’ the Queen whispers. ‘He’s the king’.”

• Our Queen will be broadcast on ITV this Sunday at 8pm.

The Scotsman takes pride of place in royal reading matter

An avid reader and follower of current affairs, and especially in Scotland, it is no surprise the Queen is a reader of The Scotsman.

The documentary showed the monarch had a bunch of newspapers and periodicals on her desk, including an edition of this newspaper, along with others such as the Racing Post.

Magazines included Majesty, which focuses on the lives of royals around the world, Olive, a cooking monthly, and Hello! the gossip and celebrity title.

Piles of letters and documents were also stacked on a set of drawers in her room, alongside a small statuette of her beloved corgis standing next to a set of ceramic antlers.

In another homely shot, viewers can see a picture of the Queen Mother and the Queen in mismatching wooden frames on top of a piano and flanked by lamps, fresh flowers (in odd vases), a picture of a horse and a collection of pebbles.

Still suffering

The Queen, who has been suffering from the symptoms of gastroenteritis, has cancelled the rest of her public engagements this week, but will still carry out her official duties within Buckingham Palace.

She was due to visit London’s Tech City today and attend a chapel service tomorrow, but other members of the Royal Family will take her place. The palace said: “The Queen hopes to resume her programme of official engagements next week.”

 

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