Coordinates: 57°01′43″N 3°04′26″W / 57.0287°N 3.0740°W / 57.0287; -3.0740
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

View of Birkhall

Birkhall (from the Scots Birk Hauch: "Birch River-meadow")[1] is a 210 km2 (52,000 acres) estate on Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, owned by King Charles III.[2] It is located alongside the River Muick to the south-west of Ballater.[3]


The property was built in 1715.[3] It was acquired from the Gordon family (owners of the Abergeldie Estate) who had acquired it from the Farquharsone family. Birkhall was acquired by Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria, as part of the Balmoral Castle estate in 1849 and given to his eldest son, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. Victoria bought Birkhall back to provide accommodation for her staff and extended family in 1884; Prince Albert Edward had only visited Birkhall once, as he preferred the larger Abergeldie Castle.[4] Birkhall was occupied by General Sir Dighton Probyn, Keeper of the Privy Purse to King Edward VII and Comptroller to Queen Alexandra, in the late 19th century and early 20th century.[5]

A fine wire suspension bridge, erected in 1880 by John Harper, crosses the River Muick at Birkhall.[6]

King George V lent Birkhall in the 1930s to the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth), who holidayed there with their children, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. The house was redecorated by the Yorks, who also replanted the gardens. After the Duke of York ascended to the throne in 1936, the new king and queen occupied Balmoral during the summer. Later on Princess Elizabeth, her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and their children occupied Birkhall during the late summer season.[4] In 1947, Elizabeth and Philip spent a portion of their honeymoon at Birkhall.[7][8]

Sir David Bowes-Lyon, brother of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, died at Birkhall of a heart attack after suffering from hemiplegia, on 13 September 1961, aged 59. The Queen Mother discovered him dead in bed.[9]

Birkhall was inherited by Charles, Prince of Wales (later King Charles III), from the Queen Mother upon her death in 2002.[2][3] He also spent his second honeymoon at Birkhall in 2005 with his wife Camilla. In 2011, Prince William and his wife Catherine, then the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, celebrated Hogmanay at Birkhall.[10]

In March 2020, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall (later King Charles III and Queen Camilla) self-isolated at Birkhall after the prince tested positive for COVID-19.[11]

It had been reported that King Charles III will not take up residence at Balmoral Castle while he is on the estate, but rather will continue to stay at Birkhall during the Balmoral holidays.[12] However, King Charles and Queen Camilla did reside at Balmoral in the summer of 2023.

See also


  1. ^ Place-Names of the Cairngorms National Park Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Cairngorms National Park Authority
  2. ^ a b "Birkhall". The Prince of Wales. Archived from the original on 12 February 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  3. ^ a b c "Royal retreat for grieving prince". BBC News. 10 April 2002. Archived from the original on 14 May 2004. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Birkhall, Balmoral estate, Aberdeenshire". Country Life. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  5. ^ Shawcross, William (2009). Queen Elizabeth: The Queen Mother: the Official Biography. Macmillan. p. 310. ISBN 978-1-4050-4859-0. Archived from the original on 20 March 2017. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Birkhall". Bridgemeister. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  7. ^ "Elizabeth II's wedding". BBC. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  8. ^ "70 facts about The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh's Wedding". 17 November 2017. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  9. ^ Vickers, Hugo (2006). Elizabeth: The Queen Mother. Arrow Books/Random House. p. 394. ISBN 978-0-09-947662-7.
  10. ^ Corneau, Allison (31 December 2011). "Prince Harry Has Snowball Fight with Pal in Switzerland". US Magazine. Archived from the original on 14 February 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  11. ^ "Prince Charles tests positive for coronavirus". BBC News. 25 March 2020. Archived from the original on 27 May 2020. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  12. ^ Castle, Image: Balmoral (20 September 2022). "King Charles reportedly plans to make Balmoral Castle a museum". Museums + Heritage Advisor. Retrieved 20 October 2022.

Further reading

57°01′43″N 3°04′26″W / 57.0287°N 3.0740°W / 57.0287; -3.0740