Queens’ wardrobe staple for her Scottish holidays – ‘Worn to relax’

Darcey Bussell reveals the Queen's love of fishing

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The Queen has officially left Windsor Castle for her summer residence in Scotland. The Monarch typically spends time at her beloved Balmoral retreat from July to early October; a place where she can recuperate and relax. According to Princess Eugenie, Balmoral is where “Granny is most happy”. “I think she really, really loves the Highlands,” the Queen’s granddaughter added. In the first episode of Darcey Bussell’s Royal Road Trip on More4, Darcey visited a tartan shop in Edinburgh and learnt all about the royal tartan and how the Queen likes to wear the fabric when in Scotland on her holiday.  

Darcey explained: “Edinburgh the Scottish capital, a stunning city with many links to the Queen, including one very special one – tartan. 

“This fabric originated in Celtic Europe, becoming popular in Scotland in the 16th century. 

“Today, the Queen’s tartan is made by the firm Kinloch Anderson, who has held a royal warrant since 1934. 

“John Kinloch Anderson is the sixth generation of this family firm, and he’s laid out something here pretty exclusive. 

“So why is this tartan so special?” She asked. 

John revealed: “Out of all the tartans, and there are thousands and thousands of tartans, this is probably the most special one, it’s the Balmoral tartan. 

“So only the sovereign is entitled to wear the tartan and can say who else can wear the tartan.” 

Darcey told viewers: “It’s a staple of her wardrobe when she’s on her Scottish holidays. Worn at important functions and when she’s just relaxing at Balmoral.

Looking at the Queen’s tartan a little closer, the presenter said: “It’s actually very fashionable colours at the moment.” 

John added: “That’s right. Designed in the 1850s by Prince Albert.” 

“So he designed his own tartan?” Darcey asked. 

John confirmed: “That’s right, for Queen Victoria, then after that, every reigning monarch has worn that tartan.” 

Darcey noticed three crests – royal warrants of appointments – on the wall. 

John said: “Our company first outfit the Royal Family in 1903, to King Edward VII and we gained our first royal warrant of appointment in 1935 to King George V. 

“But now we hold three Royal warrants of appointment to Her Majesty the Queen, to the late Duke of Edinburgh and His Royal Highness to the Prince of Wales.” 

The firm also has its own workshops where kilts are made to order.  

The tartan kilts – including those made for the Royal Family – are all hand stitched, the only thing that’s machine is binding along the top. 

Darcey was told it takes 14 hours to make a kilt, and the secret to a good tartan is symmetry. 

The pattern, or the set, should be repeated every six to eight inches and should be made up of at least two colours, but no more than six. 

Episode one of Darcey Bussell’s Royal Road Trip is available to watch on Channel4.com. 

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