Picture of late Queen with great-grandchildren released to mark 97th birthday

The photograph was taken by the Princess of Wales at Balmoral last summer and shows the Queen with some of her grandchildren and great grandchildren Credit: The Princess of Wales

A picture of the late Queen surrounded by grandchildren and great-grandchildren has been released to mark what would have been her 97th birthday. The image was captured by the Princess of Wales during a family trip to Balmoral, Aberdeenshire, last summer and features the young royals all smiles next to their beloved “Gan Gan”. The Queen is joined by Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis for the group picture, along with Mia, Lucas and Lena Tindall, and Savannah and Isla Phillips. Standing at the back are the Queen’s grandchildren Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and James, Earl of Wessex – the son and daughter of the now Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh.

Elizabeth II, who was the nation’s longest-reigning monarch, serving as head of state for more than 70 years, died on September 8 last year at Balmoral Castle. Balmoral was one of the Queen’s favourite places and she is said to never be happier than when staying there. She travelled to the estate each summer, with members of her family invited to spend time with her while she was there. The Queen’s traditional annual stay at the main property usually stretched through August and September, and into October. Last year she travelled to Balmoral on July 21 and remained at the estate to appoint a new prime minister there for the first time in her reign on Tuesday September 6 – two days before her death.

Balmoral, like Sandringham, is a private residence of the Queen rather than a royal residence belonging to the Crown. Years of royal memories have been forged at Balmoral, including family barbecues – where the Duke of Edinburgh did the cooking and the Queen the washing-up. After Philip and Princess Elizabeth married in 1947, they spent part of their honeymoon at Birkhall – a grand hunting lodge on the Balmoral estate.

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