The Duchess of Rothesay has revealed the terror she felt as her Royal Deeside home was caught up in the worst flooding to ever hit the area.
Camilla has been staying at Birkhall on the Balmoral Estate with her husband, Prince Charles, since New Year.
Within hours of arriving in Aberdeenshire for the celebrations, ferocious Storm Frank arrived – swamping homes, destroying possessions, and ruining livelihoods.
During a visit to Aberdeen University yesterday, the duchess was asked how badly her residence had been affected.
She revealed how she had been woken in the night by the sound of rushing water, and the rumble of boulders.
“It was the most frightening noise I have ever heard in my life,” she said.
The duchess said a huge part of the garden had been destroyed when the nearby River Muick burst its banks, damaging a bridge leading to the property.
The Duke of Rothesay had spent the past 14 years lovingly restoring the space that he inherited from the Queen Mother.
It is understood that parts of the two-acre gardens, which feature a gazebo, a memorial to the Queen Mother, roses, fruit trees and fruit and vegetable patches were completely washed away.
But the duchess said the damage was nothing in comparison to the devastation hundreds of homes and businesses have endured, and are still counting the cost of.
On Hogmanay, the couple made an impromptu visit to Ballater, touring the village to see for themselves the devastation caused and offering words of comfort.
In the days that followed, it emerged that Prince Charles was intervening personally to help flooding victims, with The Prince’s Countryside Fund appealing to the public to help create a relief fund.
He was also kept “personally updated” about the situation across the country.