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Balmoral community welcomes prospect of Queen spending more time there

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Scottish community has welcomed suggestions the Queen may spend more time there amid reports that upgrades are being made to a cottage on her Balmoral Estate.

The Queen, 95, and her late husband the Duke of Edinburgh used to stay for a week at the start of their summer break at the private Craigowan Lodge, a seven-bedroom guesthouse about a mile from Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire.

The cottage has now been fitted with a £20,000 lift, a new security gate and a state-of-the-art intercom system, while more CCTV cameras are being installed, The Sun reports.

James Anderson, chairman of Ballater and Crathie Community Council, said local people will be pleased if the Queen spends more time in the area.

The Queen has used a walking stick during recent engagements (Jacob King/PA) / PA Wire

He said: “Folk will be happy about that. We don’t see much of her when she is on the estate but it generates a lot of income for the village and for the area when she’s here because of the amount of staff and the business it brings, it is a good thing.

“It is a very relaxing area and she likes it up here.”

Local councillor Geva Blackett said she has not heard anything about any alterations at Craigowan Lodge, but she added people will be delighted if the Queen visits more often.

“We always welcome the Queen here, she is part of the community,” she said. “We would love her to be here more if that’s what she wants to do.

“You see her around, when there wasn’t Covid you would see her in church. She is very much part of the community and we love her. She is a very familiar figure and much loved.”

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said it will not be commenting on the matter.

Earlier this week, the Queen was pictured standing without her walking stick as she carried out face-to-face engagements.

The Queen presented her Gold Medal for Poetry to Grace Nichols during a private audience at Windsor Castle this week (Steve Parsons/PA) / PA Wire

She welcomed Guyanese poet Grace Nichols to Windsor Castle to present her with the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.

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