WHEN the Queen leaves shortly for her annual break at Balmoral, she will find a collection of recordings of her favourite TV shows waiting for her.
These will be in the form of DVDs neatly stacked in her private sitting room, and in the past has included her all-time favourite show – The Bill.
When the Queen goes to Balmoral, she requests staff make DVDs of her favourite TV shows for her to watch[/caption]
Each year the monarch’s private secretary sends a list of the shows she would like to see to the Special Services department at the BBC, which puts together a collection (both from its own output and from the independent channels).
“The Queen likes them in the form of separate discs, although of course it would be easier to transfer them digitally,” says an aide who used to work at the Highlands royal retreat.
“You might call that old-fashioned, but that’s the way she prefers to do her viewing.”
A senior courtier once asked the sovereign her favourite TV show and she promptly replied that it was The Bill.
The Queen’s favourite TV programme is said to be the BBC police drama The Bill[/caption]
She added the caveat that she didn’t like “those episodes where policemen get hurt”.
The courtier adds that Her Majesty was disappointed when ITV ended the series in 2010, after its ratings fell to three million viewers.
It ran for 26 years and was set in Sun Hill, a fictional police station in London’s East End.
Actor Paul Nicholls confirms the series was a royal favourite, saying that he knew because he had once been shown the list sent from Buckingham Palace to the BBC.
“I saw that list,” he says. “Besides The Bill there was Keeping Up Appearances, Midsomer Murders, New Tricks, Last Of The Summer Wine and the complete Doctor Who.”
Every summer the Queen spends her holiday in Balmoral Castle in Scotland[/caption]
The royal viewing selection is one of the traditions of the Queen’s summer break at Balmoral, along with a much older one – started by Queen Victoria – of having a bagpiper play for 15 minutes under HM’s window at 9am every morning.
The Queen’s arrival at her 52,000-acre Scottish estate always begins with an inspection of a guard of honour from the Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion, who make up part of her protection while she’s there.
Another, less well-known, practice which been kept up through her reign is the royal inspection of the sandwiches given to the troops who guard her at the castle.
Balmoral is said to be the Queen’s favourite residence[/caption]
“Years ago the Queen told the commanding officer that she wanted to see that the soldiers’ food was up to standard,” says a Balmoral insider.
“Ever since then she inspects the packed lunches of all the regiments who serve her during her stay by visiting the kitchens to sample their sandwiches.
“Those that don’t make the grade are sent back.”
Another tradition she keeps at Balmoral is watching her servants chase the castle’s resident bats round the vast ballroom with butterfly nets.
After her beloved horses and dogs, the Queen is said to love the castle’s bats as her favourite animals[/caption]
THE QUEEN'S SUMMER RETREAT AT BALMORAL
Balmoral Castle has been a Royal residence since 1852.
The estate and its original castle were purchased privately by Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria, and to this day remain the private property of the Royal Family.
The castle is classified by Historic Scotland as a category A listed building, and costs around £3 million annually to run.
Every summer, the Monarch returns to the Balmoral estate with her husband Prince Philip.
Throughout the summer, much of the royal family – including Charles, Camilla, William, and Kate – will join her and Prince Philip for their annual “summer break.”
The Royal residence has often been described as “the most beautiful place on Earth” and is often referred to as the Queen’s favourite home.
The Queen is often seen riding horses or driving her beloved Range Rover over the estate’s rugged terrain.
The castle gardens were first opened to the public in 1931.
They now open daily between April and the end of July, after which Queen Elizabeth arrives for her annual stay.
Of all her residences, Balmoral – which is owned by the Queen and not part of the Crown estate – is her favourite.
Her granddaughter Princess Beatrice has said the sovereign was most happy there.
“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,” Eugenie said during an appearance on ITV’s Our Queen At Ninety.
“It’s the most beautiful place on earth,” she added. “I think Granny is the most happy there. She really, really loves the Highlands.”
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