The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have arrived in Scotland for the start of their summer holiday.
The couple, who have been isolating at Windsor Castle, travelled by car earlier today to RAF Northolt, in west London, where they boarded a private jet.
After a short flight, the Queen, 94, and Prince Philip, 99, this afternoon touched down at Aberdeen airport where they were met by a driver and whisked off to Balmoral, roughly an hour away.
The couple landed in overcast weather, with the Queen donning a rain mac over her smart powder blue suit as her husband followed her down the stairs of the plane in his own practical waterproof coat.
They were followed by royal aides carrying luggage and a pair of dorgis, the Queen's beloved dogs which are a cross between a dachshund and a Welsh corgi.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will remain at the 50,000-acre estate until early October and will be joined by family members throughout their stay.
It will be a welcome change of scenery for the couple, who have not left the grounds of Windsor Castle since March.
The couple were followed off the plane by royal aides carrying luggage and their faithful dorgis - a cross between a dachshund and a Welsh corgi. Pictured, a member of royal staff carries one of the dorgis off the flight
The couple, who have been isolating at Windsor Castle, travelled by car
to RAF Northolt, in west London, earlier today, where they boarded a
private jet, thought to belong to Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel
The Queen, pictured, arrived at RAF Northolt in the back of a chauffeur-driven car ahead of the flight. She and Prince Philip will remain at Balmoral, in Aberdeenshire, until early October
A group of aides have already travelled up to the Scottish home of the Royal Family to prepare the castle for the couple's arrival. The Queen and Philip will stay in the main castle, pictured
Balmoral Castle has been the Scottish home of the Royal Family since it was purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852, having been first leased in 1848.
In the autumn of 1842, two and a half years after her marriage to Prince Albert, Queen Victoria paid her first visit to Scotland. They were so struck with the Highlands that they resolved to return. A further visit to Perthshire and then Ardverikie encouraged them to seize the opportunity to purchase Balmoral.
After Queen Victoria bought the Castle in 1852, plans were made to build a new castle about 100 yards north-west of the old building designed by the city of Aberdeen architect William Smith.
On 28 September 1853 the foundation stone of the new Castle was laid by Queen Victoria. Prince Albert took a great interest in the design and construction which was completed by 1856, also in the Scottish Baronial style.
The Castle is constructed from local granite, which was precision cut using the modern machinery of the day, producing a much smoother finish to the building than usual.
Prince Albert set about landscaping the area, starting a programme of improvements lasting several years, which was done in accordance with a model he had constructed in sand. The main works were completed by 1859 and included new houses, stables, workshops and schools.
Royals continue to make improvements to the castle and the ruggedly beautiful surroundings have captivated generations of royals since.
The Queen has visited Balmoral almost every year of her reign and it holds a special place in her heart.
A group of royal aides travelled up to the sprawling 50,000-acre Scottish estate ahead of today to prepare the castle for the couple's arrival.
It is understood staff quarantined for two weeks in order to minimise the risk of the Queen or Prince Philip, who are both in their 90s, being exposed to Covid-19.
Reports suggest the hand-picked team of royal aides who will join the couple include Vice-Admiral Tony Johnstone-Burt, master of the household; Sir Edward Young, the Queen’s private secretary, and Paul Whybrew and William Henderson, her pages.
Major Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah, her equerry; Terry Pendry, her head groom; Angela Kelly, the Queen’s personal assistant and her senior dresser; Jackie Newbold, Kelly’s PA; and three assistant dressers will also join, according to The Sunday Times.
It is thought staff will minimise their contact with people outside the royal household in order to create a 'Balmoral bubble' designed to keep the Queen and Prince Philip safe.
Measures will also be taken if any members of the royal family come to visit. Typically the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are joined by their children and grandchildren, as well as close friends, throughout the summer holiday.
She's arrived! The Queen lifted her arm and waved as she arrived at Balmoral Castle after a long journey to mark the start of her delayed summer getaway
Her Majesty sported a blue and purple silk headscarf with a deep red lipstick while Prince Philip opted for a yellow shirt and green jumper as they arrived at the Scottish estate
After the short flight, the couple were seen arriving to overcast weather, with the Queen donning a rain mac over her smart powder blue suit as her husband followed her down the stairs of the plane
The Queen's beloved dorgis were carried from the plane after the royal couple, one pictured above
Another royal aide was carrying what appears to be a new Apple laptop, unopened in its box (pictured)
The Queen pictured with two of her corgis at Buckingham Palace in 1936
Known for her love of Corgis, the Queen's two remaining dogs - Vulcan and Candy - are in fact Dorgis, a Dachshund cross breed.
She has not owned a Corgi since her last one, Willow, died in April 2018.
Her love affair with the dogs began 85 years ago when the Queen's father — then Duke of York — brought home a Pembroke corgi called Dookie from kennels in Surrey.
Three years later Jane arrived to breed with Dookie, but no puppies were forthcoming.
Jane did produce two puppies with another mate, however, and Crackers and Carol joined King George and Queen Elizabeth's household during World War II.
In 1944, Susan arrived as Princess Elizabeth's 18th birthday present. Mistress and pet were inseparable. She even accompanied the Princess on her honeymoon with Prince Philip in 1947, hidden from view under a blanket in the royal carriage.
A year later, Susan followed her royal mistress into motherhood, producing a pair of puppies: Sugar, who belonged to Prince Charles, and Honey who, in later years, lived with the Queen Mother. It marked the beginning of a new royal dynasty.
Over the years, the Queen became one of the most experienced breeders of Pembrokeshire corgis in the country. She always chose the sire herself, aiming for good-looking puppies that maintain the red colouring of the original Pembrokes.
At one stage there were said to be 13 corgis — memorably described by Princess Diana as a 'moving carpet' — lolling in the Queen's private sitting room, and nipping the heels of footmen, prime ministers, ladies-in-waiting and diplomats.
Queen Elizabeth II with some of her corgis walking the Cross Country course during the second day of the Windsor Horse Trials
Every few years, a fresh litter arrived and older dogs passed away. No puppies were ever sold; instead the Queen ensured that they went to good homes. Susan's descendants have gone to Australia and America.
Then came the dorgis, a cross-breed resulting from an unplanned liaison between one of the Queen's corgis and Princess Margaret's dachshund Pipkin.
In 2009, it emerged that the Queen had stopped breeding the dogs.
She worried about puppies and lively young dogs around her feet, and the fear that she might trip over, hurting herself or them. But what was not clear then was that she no longer wanted any new four-legged companions to replace those that died.
Monty Roberts, the Californian cowboy who inspired the Hollywood film The Horse Whisperer, who was an informal adviser to her on horses and dogs for more than 25 years offered to find her a replacement puppy in 2012, when Monty - named after him - died.
'But she didn't want to have any more young dogs. She didn't want to leave any young dog behind. I understood we would discuss it further at a later date,' he said.
'Well, we never did, and I have no right to try to force her into continuing to bring on young puppies if she doesn't want to.'
However this year any visitors, who typically include the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex, will likely maintain social distancing while on site.
Family members will not stay in the castle with the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh as they have done in previous years and will instead be housed in other properties in the grounds of the 50,000-acre estate.
They will be able to meet her for outside activities instead including walks, horse riding and picnics.
Previous reports suggest Balmoral staff have been banned from social activity and the annual Ghillies Ball has also been cancelled due to coronavirus.
An insider told the Mail on Sunday 'stir-crazy' aides are staying in the New Block, a dull granite building with a dozen bedrooms outside near the castle.
The insider said: 'Without all the normal facilities which make a stay pleasant for staff, everyone's saying it's like being in Colditz, the prisoner of war camp.
The Queen's removal van, from high-end moving company Abels is pictured crossing a bridge to approach the the Scottish castle
The Queens removal van departs Balmoral Castle after moving Her Majesty from Windsor Castle to Balmoral to mark the start of her summer break - albeit on a rainy day
The couple, who have been isolating at Windsor Castle since March, travelled by car from Windsor to RAF Northolt, west London, ahead of their private flight to Aberdeenshire
The Duke of Edinburgh, 98, was dapper in a yellow collard shirt and green jumper as he travelled in the back of a car for the flight to Aberdeenshire this afternoon
The Queen looked perfectly made up with a slick of berry-coloured lipstick and expertly coiffed hair as she arrived at the airfield with the Duke of Edinburgh
Shortly after the royals arrived at RAF Northolt, an Embraer Legacy 600 G-THFC (Tottenham Hotspur Football Club), pictured, which once belonged to Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy, took off from the airfield
'It's the assignment from hell because there is absolutely nothing people can do. The social club remains shut and the staff bar closed. With so little to do they're going stir-crazy.'
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have been isolating at Windsor Castle with a reduced household since March 19.
Although she has been unable to carry out many engagements in person, the Queen has remained active in her royal duties, taking part in video call meetings and conducting her weekly audience with the Prime Minister via telephone.
Meanwhile the Duke of Edinburgh recently came out of retirement to perform a long-distance royal engagement with his daughter-in-law the Duchess of Cornwall, who remained in Gloucestershire.
The couple were most recently seen together at the wedding of their granddaughter Princess Beatrice, 31, and property developer Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, who tied the knot in secret on 17 July at Royal Chapel of All Saints, Windsor.
That same day the Queen knighted Colonel Sir Tom Moore, 100, in recognition of his extraordinary fundraising efforts.
At one point it was feared Covid-19 travel restrictions would scupper the Queen's annual summer getaway.
Meanwhile, Prince Charles also visited Scotland and shared pictures from his visit to the North Highlands. He met with his local Caithness to thank them for their work during the pandemic
The Prince of Wales sported a grey suit and his signature spotted tie and pocket square combo to meet representatives from Dounreay and the Castletown Community Council Trust to the Castle of Mey
Charles revealed on Instagram that he met with locals after hearing about the remarkable support they have provided locally including grocery and hot food deliveries, manufacturing of much needed PPE and vital prescription pick-ups for residents
The weeks in Balmoral will be a welcome change of scenery for the couple, who have not left the grounds of Windsor Castle since March. Pictured, the couple in the quadrangle of the royal residence in a photo shared to mark Philip's birthday in June
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have been isolating at Windsor Castle with a reduced household since March 19. Pictured, the quiet streets around Windsor last month