The Queen is thought to be considering making Balmoral Castle her second home during her final years on the throne.
It is believed the monarch is contemplating life without her beloved husband the Duke Of Edinburgh and plans to spend a lot more time in Scotland.
She already stays on Deeside for about two months of the summer and it is understood she believes “location is immaterial” to her work as monarch.
She considers Balmoral a refuge from the demands of her job and is said to feel most at home there.
A source said: “There is a feeling that if the Duke of Edinburgh passed away her preference would be to spend more time in Scotland.
“The discussion has been that if he goes before her, that would be her wish.
“She loves Scotland, it has always been a great comfort to her, where she is happiest and most relaxed.
“She’s a different person up there.
“At Balmoral she feels she doesn’t have to be a caricature of a queen.
“Everyone will play it by ear but the feeling is the Scottish plan will be what she wants to do.”
The source added: “Her court operates anywhere – when she moves to a different residence everyone moves with her.
“The Queen is very aware that you can be head of state anywhere these days.
“She knows you can look through a red box, have an audience and host a reception anywhere.”
The castle was bought for Queen Victoria in 1852 and has served as the Scottish home of the royal family ever since.
Business at Buckingham Palace is increasingly being carried out by the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge
Prince Charles is also making more official visits overseas as the Queen and the duke no longer travel long-haul.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment yesterday.