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royal wedding Monday, 21 June, 1999, 14:13 GMT 15:13 UK
Balmoral honeymoon - then back to work
Balmoral
Balmoral: A surprising choice
Newly-weds the Earl and Countess of Wessex are spending their honeymoon at Balmoral.

Royal Wedding
The couple are reported to be taking just a four-day break at the Queen's estate in the Scottish Highlands, because they are "too busy" to have a longer holiday.

Instead, in a break with tradition for royal honeymooners, they want to get back to work running their respective companies.

The couple flew to Scotland by helicopter on Sunday afternoon, after an informal champagne brunch at their new home Bagshot Park in Surrey, which is still undergoing renovation work.

Wedding night

It was hosted by Sophie's parents, Christoper and Mary Rhys-Jones, and attended by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.

The Earl and Countess had planned to start their trip to Scotland by driving from their home to the nearby airstrip at Blackbushe to board the helicopter.

couple after wedding
Edward and Sophie will both continue working
But the presence of photographers meant they abandoned their plans, and the helicopter landed in the grounds of their 10m home instead.

It made one refuelling stop in Nottinghamshire before reaching Royal Deeside on Sunday evening.

The couple are believed to have spent their wedding night on the Windsor estate, returning to Bagshot Park on Sunday morning.

They are said to have spent Sunday night at Birkhall Lodge, normally used by the Queen Mother, which is about five miles from Balmoral Castle.

Romantic history

The Lodge is surrounded by leafy trees and is almost invisible from the nearest public road. The 50,000-acre royal estate has been the scene of a number of royal romances.

The Duke of Edinburgh proposed to the Queen there, Edward VIII escaped there with Mrs Simpson, and it was where the Princess Royal chose to marry Naval officer Tim Laurence.

Balmoral is one of the Royal Family's favourite residences:

  • It was bought by Queen Victoria in 1852 and is the traditional location for the Royal Family's annual 10-week summer retreat
  • There are 120 staff, including nannies, chefs, valets, footmen, ladies-in-waiting and detectives who are rotated from Buckingham Palace in two five-week shifts during the holiday season
  • It is well known for its outdoor activities including grouse and stag shooting and salmon fishing
  • Every day residents are woken by a lone Highland piper playing below the Queen's bedroom window, and eat a breakfast of kipper and eggs
  • The Earl of Wessex organises cricket matches between visitors and locals, and arranges the Balmoral paper chase

After their break at Balmoral, the couple are expected to return to Bagshot Park, where Edward's television production company Ardent Productions is based.

PR director Sophie will return to her office in London's Mayfair.

See also:

20 Jun 99 | royal wedding
21 Jun 99 | royal wedding
20 Jun 99 | royal wedding
20 Jun 99 | royal wedding
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