The Queen's summer holiday tradition at Balmoral may permanently be in danger

The Queen will not be able to participate in a longstanding Balmoral tradition this summer due to growing environmental concerns

The Queen will not be able to participate in a longstanding Balmoral tradition this summer due to growing environmental concerns
(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

The Queen may have to abandon a longstanding tradition at Balmoral Castle in light of environmental concerns, a royal insider has revealed. 

The Queen has officially begun her annual summer vacation at Balmoral Castle, where she is expected to spend at least two months relaxing and hosting close family members. The Scottish country estate has been a famous holiday spot for Her Majesty throughout her reign, offering a much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle of Buckingham Palace in London. 

However, it looks like the British monarch's trip to the 1852 residence will look a little different this year. Not only does the occasion mark the Queen's first solo trip to Balmoral since Prince Philip's death, but it will also be lacking in a longstanding royal tradition known as the Glorious Twelfth. 

Balmoral castle

Balmoral Castle, the Queen's country estate in Scotland 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The mid-August festivities usually commence with a round of grousing, which involves hunting and killing game birds. The Royal Family has long been a fan of the archaic bloodsport, with both Prince William and Prince Andrew continuing to participate in shoots on the 50,000-acre property to this day. While the Queen doesn't hunt animals herself, she regularly accompanies her younger relatives to observe the practice. 

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

The Queen is known to accompany younger Royal Family members on grousing shoots 

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images))

However, it looks like the British monarch will have to find another way to pass the time this August. According to the Daily Mail, the grousing hunts at Balmoral have been canceled after an infestation of heather beetles on the moors. The insects endanger the birds' livelihoods, prompting gamekeepers to call off shoots to preserve the grouse population. The larvae, which have jumped in numbers thanks to the frosty spring weather, are known to threaten grouse by munching through the moorland and cutting off their food supply. 

AVIEMORE, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 12: Head keeper Graeme MacDonald leads a shooting party at the beginning of a new shooting season on a grouse moor at the Alvie Estate on August 12, 2017 in Aviemore, Scotland. The Glorious 12th signals the start of the grouse shooting season, it has been an integral part of the countryside calendar for decades with enthusiasts travelling from all over the world to shots on Scotlands finest estates. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Grousing in Scotland 

(Image credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

With grousing often considered the main event of the Glorious Twelfth, residents and visitors will have to make do with alternative activities like walks and picnics at this year's gathering. “There’s not much else to do at Balmoral and that’s why so many guests come. It’s a great shame," one inside source told the Daily Express. 

This isn't the first time the Glorious Twelfth celebrations at Balmoral have been canceled and, with climate change continuing to threaten wildlife, it looks like it won't be the last. 

Grouse hunting plans during the 2019 festival came to an abrupt halt due to a concerning decline in the population of the stocky birds and were also altered the year before for similar reasons. Not all members of the Royal Family are completely on board with the shoots either. It's rumored that, although Prince Harry participated in grousing in his younger years, he no longer supports the controversial pastime. Meghan Markle is also said to oppose hunting, having openly spoken about her love for animals in the past.  

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.