Balmoral

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Balmoral (Aberdeenshire). The Scottish holiday home of the royal family. The present house was built in 1853–6 for Queen Victoria by the architect William Smith of Aberdeen (1817–91) as a replacement for an earlier house in Jacobethan style erected in 1834–9 by his father, John Smith (1781–1852). ‘This dear paradise’, as she called it, is a white granite mansion in Scots baronial style, and embodies modifications suggested by Prince Albert. The design of Osborne, the Queen's stuccoed Italianate villa on the Isle of Wight, had also benefited from the prince's involvement from 1845 to 1851, in this instance as a collaborator with Thomas Cubitt (1788–1855)—the builder and property developer described by Robert Kerr as ‘perhaps as near an approach to an architect as any man not an architect could be’. Queen Victoria spent part of every spring and autumn at Balmoral, her love of Scotland finding public expression in her books Leaves from the Journal of Our Life in the Highlands published in 1869, with a second part, More Leaves, appearing in 1883.

Peter Willis

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Balmoral Private residence of the British monarch, in the Scottish Highlands, 85km (53mi) w of Aberdeen. Built in the reign of Queen Victoria, it was left to her by Prince Albert on his death in 1861.