NETFLIX hit drama based around the British monarchy under the reign of the late Queen Elizabeth is set to return to our screens today.
The long-awaited fifth season depicts the marriage and divorce of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Charles’ relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles and the tragic death of Diana.
Much of the series will take place at Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, popularly known as one of the late Queen Elizabeth’s most cherished residences.
However, Balmoral Castle is not used for the filming of The Crown, instead, Ardverikie Estate has been used.
Balmoral Castle made headlines in September following the death of Her Majesty The Queen. His coffin remained at Balmoral for two days after his death before being moved to Edinburgh and then to London.
Visit the Balmoral Estate in November and December to experience the peace, tranquility and beauty of the castle grounds with no admission charge. Open Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. pic.twitter.com/Fbzs1OGH3w
— Balmoral Castle and Estate (@Balmoral_Castle) November 8, 2022
As The Crown season five returns to our screen, here are some facts about Balmoral Castle you might not know.
Prince Albert bought Balmoral for Queen Victoria
Balmoral Castle was purchased by the Royal Family in 1852 and has been the Royal Family’s Scottish residence ever since.
Prince Albert bought the castle for Queen Victoria, having first been rented out in 1848.
In the fall of 1842, two and a half years after her marriage to Prince Albert, Queen Victoria made her first visit to Scotland.
The royal couple loved the Highlands so much that they decided to return there. A further visit to Perthshire and then to Ardverikie encouraged them to buy Balmoral.
Prince Albert has built a new castle
The Balmoral Castle that stands today is not the original that was purchased all those years ago.
After deciding it wasn’t big enough for the royal family, Prince Albert decided it needed a bigger one.
A new site was chosen, 100 yards northwest of the building, so that they could continue to stay in the old house while the new castle was under construction.
The castle was completed in 1856 and the old building was later demolished.
The Balmoral estate covers 50,000 acres
Balmoral Castle is not on a small plot; it covers around 50,000 acres, having been added by other members of the royal family.
Prince Philip proposed to Queen Elizabeth at Balmoral
As reported in The Telegraphit was at Balmoral Castle that Prince Philip proposed to Queen Elizabeth, who was only 20 at the time.
Their engagement was officially announced on July 9, 1947.
Prior to their wedding, the couple spent the summer months at Balmoral.
The ‘Balmoral test’ shown in The Crown is real
In the fourth season of The Crown, viewers got a glimpse of what was known as “The Balmoral Test”. With Netflix declaring for the upcoming season that the depictions are “fictional dramatization” and “inspired by true events”, many people wondered if this test was true – and apparently it is.
The drama showed Margaret Thatcher visiting Balmoral with the Royal Family as she tried and struggled to fit in.
Biographer Andrew Morton says in his book Diana: Her True Story that the test is actually real and performed at Balmoral Castle.
He said: “Since Queen Victoria purchased the estate in 1848, it has held a special place in the affections of the Royal Family. However, the quirks and obscure family traditions that have accumulated over the years can intimidate newcomers.
“‘Don’t sit there,’ they shout at an unfortunate guest mad enough to try to sit on a chair in the drawing room which was last used by Queen Victoria…Those who managed to navigate this social minefield, popularly known as the Balmoral test, are accepted by the royal family.