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‘We would love her to be here more’: Ballater welcomes prospect of Queen spending more time at Balmoral

Queen smiling
The Queen is reported to be preparing to spend more time at Balmoral. Photo: PA

The Ballater community has welcomed suggestions the Queen may spend more time there amid reports that upgrades are being made to a cottage on her Balmoral Estate.

The Queen, 95, and her late husband the Duke of Edinburgh used to stay for a week at the start of their summer break at the private Craigowan Lodge, a seven-bedroom guesthouse about a mile from Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire.

The cottage has now been fitted with a £20,000 lift, a new security gate and a state-of-the-art intercom system, while more CCTV cameras are being installed, The Sun reports.

‘Queen is part of Ballater community’

James Anderson, chairman of Ballater and Crathie Community Council, said local people will be pleased if the Queen spends more time in the area.

He said: “Folk will be happy about that. We don’t see much of her when she is on the estate but it generates a lot of income for the village and for the area when she’s here because of the amount of staff and the business it brings, it is a good thing.

“It is a very relaxing area and she likes it up here.”

Craigowan Lodge on Balmoral Estate
Craigowan Lodge on the Balmoral Estate. Photo: Peter Jolly/Shutterstock

Local councillor Geva Blackett said she has not heard anything about any alterations at Craigowan Lodge, but she added people will be delighted if the Queen visits more often.

“We always welcome the Queen here, she is part of the community,” she said. “We would love her to be here more if that’s what she wants to do.

“You see her around, when there wasn’t Covid you would see her in church. She is very much part of the community and we love her. She is a very familiar figure and much loved.”

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said it will not be commenting on the matter.

Concerns about Queen’s mobility

Earlier this week, the Queen was pictured standing without her walking stick as she carried out face-to-face engagements.

The Queen, who reached her Platinum Jubilee last month, has faced a bout of Covid in recent weeks and also spent more than three months from October under doctors’ orders to only conduct light duties.

The Queen out and about in Ballater in 2016. Photo: DCT Media

In recent months she has been seen using a walking stick, and commenting about her mobility issues, she told two senior military officers during a Windsor Castle reception: “Well, as you can see, I can’t move.”

With the Queen due to celebrate her 96th birthday in April, maintaining her comfort is a consideration and it is understood she has been pacing herself, although she was keen to do what work she could while she had Covid.

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