Queen Elizabeth has looked forward to her annual summer vacation in Scotland since childhood. At Balmoral Castle, she learned to ride horses and dance a Scottish reel. It’s where she and her late husband, Prince Philip, fell in love and where she accepted his proposal in the summer of 1946.
But unlike other carefree trips, this year Elizabeth traveled north with troubles on her mind. “Elizabeth hopes that being physically together will ease the tensions among her family,” explains a royals insider. “She wants them all to create a stronger bond of emotional support for each other.”
Elizabeth has been particularly worried by the emotional distance — and occasional outright hostility — between Prince Harry and his brother, Prince William, and his father, Prince Charles. Although Harry is unlikely to travel to Scotland from his new home in California this summer, Elizabeth believes she can help soothe the tension. “Elizabeth urged Harry to call via Zoom for peace talks while Charles is in Scotland and offered to be a mediator. It’s taken some persuasion, but they’ve agreed to it because they both love and respect the queen,” says the insider.
Elizabeth also looks forward to speaking candidly with William, who is second in line for the throne, about how to approach future scandals and difficulties with a strong heart and a clear mind. “Elizabeth’s seen it all — the good, the bad and the ugly,” says the insider. “But one thing she’s learned as queen is the power of positive thinking and facing challenges head on.”
Of course, the queen is also quite aware of the problems of her middle son, Prince Andrew, who arrived at Balmoral on Aug. 10 with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson. Although the prince left public life after being accused of a sexual relationship with one of Jeffrey Epstein’s underage victims, his mother stands by him.
“Obviously, she’s upset by the damning allegations,” says the insider. But Elizabeth hopes that being among supportive people will inspire Andrew to find a way to clear his name. “While she knows it won’t be easy, she believes that Andrew will survive this ordeal.”
In previous years, Prince Philip used to delight in having tables set up outdoors and grilling dinner for his family and guests. “Balmoral was Philip’s favorite place,” confides the insider. “So, Elizabeth organized a lunch in his honor, and the family reminisced and said a little prayer for him.”
Before his passing in April, Philip and Elizabeth spoke of reuniting their family. They recognized their role as the axle of the wheel that holds them all together. As queen, Elizabeth also feels responsible for uniting her country. “She understands that the power and strength of the monarchy comes from the core members of the royal family working together,” explains the insider. “Elizabeth would be devastated if her family did not come together and make amends during her lifetime.”