The Queen expressed her “delight” as she unveiled the new Duke of Rothesay Highland Games Pavilion during her annual family outing to the Braemar Gathering.
The £2.5 million heritage centre has been named after Prince Charles in recognition of his bond with the area, and the project was partly funded and driven by the Prince’s Foundation – taking just one year to build.
It will open to the public next year and showcases the history of the Highland Games in Braemar and across the world.
Leading the royal tour of the new property, David Geddes, president of Braemar Royal Highland Society, said he hoped the exhibition would become a draw for people from across the globe.
He added: “I think this is part of a great future for the Highland Games – it will be a major boost to tourism in Deeside and will hopefully attract more people.
“I’m delighted it’s happening during my spell as president.”
The Queen joined the throng of 15,000 visitors who descended upon the Deeside village to soak up the pageantry, piping and spectacle of the traditional Highland Games event.
The picturesque community has played host and provided the stunning backdrop for the event for 203 years and this year marks the 170th anniversary of its Royal Family links.
Though it is not an official royal event, the Queen chooses to attend while she holidays at nearby Balmoral Castle.
This year Her Majesty was joined by Prince Charles, Princess Anne and her husband Sir Timothy Laurence.
Princess Anne and the monarch, who was wearing a striking jade green dress suit, were both presented with floral posies by Braemar youngsters Esme Evans, 11 and Fern Jolly, 10.
Speaking afterwards the girls said they would remember the day “forever” and revealed they had chatted to the royals about their dancing.
Marking their centenary, the RAF chose the Gathering as one of its main RAF100 events – a C130 Hercules from RAF Brize Norton performed a fly-by to the delight of the crowds.
The royal party looked in appreciation while cabers were tossed and hammers were flung as the heavies battled it out and children taking part in the sack race bounded excitedly across the finish line.
A total of 11 bands from Ayrshire to Fraserburgh marched together around the arena and this year were joined by the Pipes and Drums of Canada and the RAF Central Scotland Pipe Band.
Aberdeenshire Council chief executive Jim Savage donned his trainers and took part in the open hill race, alongside 126 other competitors.
He said: “This is one of the icons of Aberdeenshire. It’s my third time competing at Braemar – and I’m delighted with my time of 36 minutes.”
Compering the event again, Robert Lovie welcomed the Queen and sang the national anthem, with backing from a new arrangement written by Aberdeen composer Paul Mealor.
The popular entertainer later introduced the Queen to the Highland Games Pavilion sponsors as she toured the new building and said she had been “delighted” with the new facility.
Mr Lovie added: “We are so proud of the building and so proud to announce that it is named after the Duke of Rothesay. The Queen was really pleased with it.”
The project has been generously supported by a number of local donors including hoteliers Iwan and Manuela Wirth, Irene Kauffman, James Milne of the Balmoral Group, and Baxters of Speyside.
Mr Milne, of the Balmoral Group, met the Queen inside the Milne Gallery and said he thought the finished room was “fantastic”.
Exhibits include paraphernalia from Highland Games and Gatherings, such as medals and trophies, and partner The Scottish Tartans Authority will also contribute to the collection.
The facility also provides a new headquarters for the Braemar Royal Highland Society and is expected to open to the public early in 2019.