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This Photo of Princess Eugenie Offers a Rare Glimpse of the Queen’s Private Estate


Image: Royal Family/Twitter

The countdown has begun to Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s wedding, which takes place at Windsor Castle on October 12. And to celebrate, Buckingham Palace released a series of photos on Twitter of the bride- and groom-to-be. In a series of archival and casual snaps, one stood out in particular: a picture of Eugenie and Jack, dressed in hunting jackets and Wellington boots, smiling in the Scottish countryside. “The couple have also shared several photographs of them together. This one shows Princess Eugenie and Mr Jack Brooksbank at Balmoral in Scotland during the summer of 2016,” Buckingham Palace wrote in their tweet.

Balmoral, Queen Elizabeth II’s 50,000 acre estate in the Scottish Highlands, has been in the royal family for generations. But unlike Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace, it isn’t a property of The Crown. It’s owned by the queen herself. As a result, whereas much of Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace have been photographed (or made visible) for the public, glimpses of Balmoral are quite rare. That’s not to say it’s been closed off completely—Diana and Charles posed for honeymoon photos there—but Balmoral remains a first and foremost a private home.

So it’s always been enshrouded in a bit of mystery. Described by former prime minister Tony Blair as “a vivid combination of the intriguing, the surreal, and the utterly freaky,” very few actually know what goes on behind closed castle doors.

Which is part of the reason this photo of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank is so interesting. In it, the couple are walking vast grounds, high enough up that there are snow patches in the middle of the summer. Beside them are a pair of Norwich terriers. It embodies the idyllic description of Balmoral Eugenie gave in 2016: “Walks, picnics, dogs—a lot of dogs, there’s always dogs—and people coming in and out all the time. It’s a lovely base for Granny and Grandpa, for us to come and see them up there, where you just have room to breathe and run.” Now, there’s photo evidence of just that, what Eugenie calls “the most beautiful place on earth.”

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