She's a pearly Queen! Her majesty looks resplendent in white as she arrives at Crathie Church on the first Sunday of her annual break in Balmoral
- The Queen arrived at Crathie Church a short distance from Balmoral Castle
- The castle is still open to the public and she is likely to stay in Craigowan Lodge
- Balmoral, which was bought by Prince Albert for £32,000 in 1852, is said to be the Queen's favourite home
The Royal Standard has been lowered at Buckingham Palace after her Majesty the Queen begins her annual Scottish holiday at Balmoral.
The monarch was spotted today making her way to Crathie Church for Sunday service, within spitting distance of her Balmoral Castle on Royal Deeside.
The 91-year-old royal could be seen travelling to the chapel alongside a female companion this morning.
The Queen was pictured arriving at Crathie Church today marking her first Sunday of her annual break to Balmoral
Her Majesty looked resplendent in a white ensemble of a coat and matching hat with pink accents.
The great-grandmother added a string of pearls to her outfit during her first Sunday of her summer break.
Her companion looked equally smart in an aqua dress coat with a complementary sea green hat.
But while the Queen was eager to get to church the Duke of Edinburgh was noticeably absent from the service this morning.
Her Majesty was accompanied by a female companion as well as several staff members
Today is the Queen's first Sunday of her annual summer break to Balmoral but it seems that she may be looking for alternative accommodation to her usual refuge of the castle.
Her Majesty normally arrives in August after Balmoral castle is closed to visitors and full security checks are carried out on the grounds.
However, according to the Balmoral visiting calendar, the building is still open to the public until 31st July.
Balmoral (pictured), which was bought by Prince Albert for £32,000 in 1852, is said to be the Queen's favourite home
In this case previously the Queen has stayed at Craigowan Lodge, about a mile away, until the castle's closure to the public.
Craigowan Lodge has been well-used by the Royal Family in the past. Prince Charles stayed there with Diana after their 1981 wedding, as did Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson after their marriage.
The Queen famously enjoys a more low-key existence while staying at the Scottish retreat - with her former royal protection officer Richard Griffin recently revealing that she had a conversation with unsuspecting American tourists visiting the estate while dressed in tweeds and a scarf.
Balmoral, which was bought by Prince Albert for £32,000 in 1852, is said to be the Queen's favourite home.
During her stay at the castle, she relaxes by going for walks on the Aberdeenshire estate, eating picnics and cooking barbecues.
Princess Eugenie has previously said of Balmoral: ‘It’s the most beautiful place on earth. I think Granny is the most happy there.
‘I think she really, really loves the Highlands.’
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