A Highland castle with links to Macbeth has reopened to the public following a bitter family row over its control.
The castle has reopened to the public
The dispute was the latest episode in the colourful 600-year history of Cawdor Castle, near Nairn.
The castle, which is now a five-star tourist attraction, has been the ancestral seat of the Thanes of Cawdor since the late 14th century.
The real Macbeth was Thane of Cawdor and became King of Scotland after the death of Duncan in the 11th century.
In the Shakespeare play, written in 1606, the murder of Duncan takes place in Inverness Castle.
Many academics have associated the killing with Cawdor Castle.
However, that theory has been discounted by others because the building was not constructed until the late 14th century.
The latest chapter in the castle's history unfolded in the Scottish courts last year.
Angelika Ilona, the Dowager Countess Cawdor, has overseen the commercial
operation of the castle for more than two decades.
She unsuccessfully challenged her stepson, Colin Robert Vaughan Campbell, for possession of the family seat at the Court of Session.
The castle has been linked to Macbeth
The 7th Earl of Cawdor and the 25th Thane of Cawdore had earlier moved his family into the castle while she was on holiday.
His children were ordered from the castle as a result of the legal action.
The estate's operating company, Cawdor Castle Tourism, has now been replaced
by a new firm.
The earl will have no involvement with Cawdor Castle Ltd.
The Countess Cawdor said: "Despite all of the difficulties which we have faced, we will open as planned.
It is a splendid house and my home to this day
Dowager Countess Cawdor
"I've been asked by many people whether it was indeed true that we were opening. They had seen the signs and advertisements declaring that the castle shop was to stage a grand closing down sale.
"That was nothing to do with me or the company which now runs the tourism
business at Cawdor."
She said it would be business as usual at the castle, which reopened its doors on Sunday.
"Friends and colleagues have worked day and night to get everything ready and we are sure that we will experience another fantastic tourist season," said the countess.
She added that more than 2.5 million people had visited the "truly extraordinary place" over the years.
"Cawdor isn't just another cold monument.
It is a splendid house and my home to this day."