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Thursday, 11 April, 2002, 23:58 GMT 00:58 UK
Royal castle to admit public
Castle of Mey
The Castle of Mey will open to the public in August
The Queen Mother's Highland retreat is likely to be opened up to the public at the beginning of August.

She bought the rundown Castle of Mey in Caithness after her husband's death in 1952, and renovated it.

The castle's trustees hope to open it five days a week from 4 August - which was the Queen Mother's birthday.

The Queen Mother died last month, at the age of 101. Her funeral took place at on 9 April at Westminster Abbey.

Fellow trustee and local MP John Thurso said: "The trustees are targeting August 4 as the opening date as it was her birthday.

Regular visitor

"We decided there should be no charge for people visiting during the month of August.

"The reason behind that is that we want to say a 'thank you' to the people of Caithness, who were always extremely good to the Queen Mother and respected her privacy."

She brought the dilapidated Castle of Mey back to life after falling in love with the building in the early 1950s.

She was a regular visitor to the area over several decades, and her status as an honorary Scot was cemented even further in 1990 when she was given the freedom of the county.

The Queen Mother owned the property until 1996, when it was handed over to a charitable trust, along with its 2,000 acres of land and a herd of prize-winning Aberdeen Angus cattle.

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