On a new episode of his Scottish culture podcast Simply Scottish, Andrew McDiarmid pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II by exploring her enduring ties to Scotland and the Scottish people.
Although many Scots are critical or ambivalent about the monarchy as an institution, there’s still much good will toward Queen Elizabeth II from the people of Scotland. “…you very rarely hear them criticizing Elizabeth II,” says Professor Sir Tom Devine of Edinburgh University, one of Scotland’s pre-eminent historians. “I think she’s probably been the most significant and influential British monarch since the union of 1707.” A Yougov poll published earlier this year found 75% of Scots think the Queen did a good job in her role, compared to 84% in the UK as a whole.
And the feeling is mutual. Queen Elizabeth was known to comment quite often on her and her family’s love for Scotland and the Scottish people. Addressing the Scottish Parliament in 2021, the Queen said: “I have spoken before of my deep and abiding affection for this wonderful country. It is the people that make a place and there are few places where this is truer than Scotland.”
In the episode, Andrew looks at one of the queen’s favorite places on earth – Scotland’s Balmoral Castle. It has been a retreat for the royal family since the days of Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert. As Victoria recorded in her diary: “All seemed to breathe freedom and peace, and to make one forget the world and its sad turmoils.” Queen Elizabeth II also cherished the estate, spending almost every summer at Balmoral and calling it her “paradise in the highlands.” A typical day at Balmoral included walks, horse rides, picnics, lots of dogs, and people coming in and out all the time. Here was a place where the queen and her family could just be themselves a bit more. Indeed, during a visit to Balmoral in 1998, former British prime minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie said that Prince Philip was stationed at the BBQ grill and the Queen washed the dinner dishes herself.
Learn more about the queen’s ties to Scotland and enjoy some great Scottish music! Listen to the full episode below: