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View of Birkhall

Birkhall (BerkHA; from the Scots Birk Hauch: "Birch River-meadow")[1] is a 53,000 acre (210 km²) estate on Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.[2] It is located alongside the River Muick to the southwest of Ballater.[3]


The property was built in 1715.[3] The property was acquired from the Gordon family (owners of the Abergeldie estate) who had acquired it from the Farquharsone family. Birkhall was acquired by Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria, as part of the Balmoral Castle estate in 1849 and given to his eldest son, Edward, Prince of Wales. Victoria bought Birkhall back to provide accommodation for her staff and extended family in 1884; Edward had only visited Birkhall once as he preferred the larger Abergeldie Castle.[4] Birkhall was occupied by Dighton Probyn, Keeper of the Privy Purse to Edward VII and Comptroller to Queen Alexandra in the late 19th century.[5]

King George V lent Birkhall in the 1930s to the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth) who holidayed here with their children, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. The house was redecorated by the Yorks who also replanted the gardens. When the Duke of York ascended to the throne in 1936, the new King and Queen occupied Balmoral while Princess Elizabeth, her husband Prince Philip, and their children occupied Birkhall during the late Summer season.[4]

Birkhall was inherited by Charles, Prince of Wales from Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, upon her death in 2002.[2][3] He also spent his second honeymoon here in 2005 with the Duchess of Cornwall. In 2011, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, celebrated New Year's Eve here.[6]

A fine wire suspension bridge erected in 1880 by John Harper crosses the River Muick here.

See also

  • Highgrove House, near Tetbury, Gloucestershire, the family residence of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall
  • Clarence House, in St James's, London, the official residence of the Prince of Wales
  • Llwynywermod, a house in Carmarthenshire, Wales, owned by the Duchy of Cornwall


  1. ^ Place-Names of the Cairngorms National Park, Cairngorms National Park Authority
  2. ^ a b "Birkhall". The Prince of Wales. Archived from the original on 12 February 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  3. ^ a b c "Royal retreat for grieving prince". BBC News. 10 April 2002. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Birkhall, Balmoral estate, Aberdeenshire". Country Life. Country Life. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  5. ^ William Shawcross (2009). Queen Elizabeth: The Queen Mother : the Official Biography. Macmillan. p. 310. ISBN 978-1-4050-4859-0.
  6. ^ Corneau, Allison (31 December 2011). "Prince Harry Has Snowball Fight with Pal in Switzerland". US Magazine. Retrieved 7 February 2012.