Bygone Balmoral: childhood at the castle

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  • Discover what it was like to grown up at Balmoral
  • Exhibition of art, photos and fascinating objects
  • Open to public April 1 - August 2 2015

A new exhibition will be staged in the Ballroom at Balmoral specially for 2015. Childhood at the castle is explored through original works of art, photographs and fascinating objects.

Balmoral Castle has been the Scottish home of the Royal Family since it was purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852. The castle is a hunting lodge, built to accommodate the needs of the Royal Family and their guests.

Many youngsters have enjoyed all that the Royal Deeside estate has to offer from Queen Victoria’s nine children to Queen Elizabeth II’s four children and subsequent grandchildren.

A cot is displayed from Queen Victoria’s reign, which was discovered in the tower of the castle and recently restored. The elaborate design of the cot indicates that it could well have been used by some of Queen Victoria’s nine children. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert married in 1840 and, over the next 18 years, had nine children. During a period of high infant mortality, even among the upper classes, the Queen was fortunate to suffer no miscarriages or stillbirths, and all her children survived into adulthood.

The great outdoors at Balmoral offers endless opportunities for youngsters as they grow older to explore, play and learn. Pony trekking, walking, cycling, wildlife watching, fishing and hunting have all been and still are popular pastimes of family members.

Garry Marsden, visitor enterprise manager at Balmoral, said: “Possibly one of my favourite objects from the exhibition is a small child’s watering can, hand decorated with the name “Elizabeth” painted on the top.

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“Prince Albert gave his children sets of gardening tools marked with their initials and laid out rectangular beds for them in the grounds at Osborne House in which they grew their own fruit, vegetables and flowers.”

The highlight of the exhibition staged in the Ballroom at Balmoral is an electric car, built in the late 1920s and used by the Queen and Princess Margaret when they were children.

It is a reproduction of the Citroen C4 made by Andre Citroen for his son Miki in 1928, a limited number of which were put on the market. Power is supplied by two 12-volt batteries and a maximum speed of 8 mph can be obtained. The car was renovated in 1953 and the Citroen radiator was changed for that of a Daimler.

The car was then given to Prince Charles and so the registration number was appropriately changed to PC 1953.

One of my favourite objects in the exhibition is a small child’s watering can.

Garry Marsden

The exhibition will be open to the public from April 1 to August 2 , daily from 10am to 5pm. Normal admission to Balmoral applies.