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Boris Johnson to visit Queen at Balmoral

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s girlfriend Carrie Symonds is expected to accompany him to the royal estate.

Balmoral Castle (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Balmoral Castle (Andrew Milligan/PA)

By David Hughes, Political Editor and Harriet Line, Deputy Political Editor, PA

Boris Johnson will make the traditional prime ministerial trip to the Queen’s Balmoral estate on Friday but the visit will be shorter than expected due to the political turmoil in Westminster.

The Prime Minister will stay at the castle in Aberdeenshire on Friday night before returning to London on Saturday.

Carrie Symonds is expected to accompany her boyfriend the Prime Minister when he stays with the Queen.

Sources told the PA news agency in August that the Prime Minister’s girlfriend, 31, will join him at the monarch’s Scottish estate.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Danny Lawson/PA)

But rather than the usual weekend-long visit, Mr Johnson’s time at the castle will be cut short as he returns to the capital.

A Number 10 spokeswoman said: “The PM has accepted Her Majesty the Queen’s invitation to visit Balmoral.

“He will have an audience of Her Majesty on Friday followed by dinner, before returning to London on Saturday.”

Every year, the Queen spends the summer at Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire, where she is joined by other members of the royal family – and traditionally hosts the Prime Minister for a weekend in September.

It is thought that Ms Symonds will be the first unmarried partner of a sitting PM to stay at Balmoral.

Former prime minister David Cameron once said there was not much “chillaxing” – chilling out and relaxing – at the castle, with the royals spending their time on outdoor pursuits.

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The Queen arrived at Balmoral earlier this month (Andrew Milligan/PA)

But conservationist Ms Symonds may find herself at odds with the royals, whose pastimes famously include blood sports.

The public relations expert, who lives in Downing Street with Mr Johnson, 55, resigned as director of communications for the Conservatives last year and is now a senior adviser at Oceana, a US-based environmental campaign group.

Baroness Thatcher reportedly found the stay at Balmoral painful, with an observer writing that a “weekend in the country with aristocrats who enjoy riding, shooting, sports and games is Thatcher’s idea of torture”.

However, Cherie Blair revealed in her autobiography how her son Leo was conceived at Balmoral when she left her contraception at home out of embarrassment during her annual weekend stay there with then-PM husband Tony.

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Carrie Symonds moved into Downing Street with Boris Johnson (Jonathan Brady/PA)

At royal residences, servants meticulously unpack luggage for guests, and Mrs Blair said: “In 1998 – I had been extremely disconcerted to discover that everything of mine had been unpacked.

“Not only my clothes, but the entire contents of my distinctly ancient toilet bag with its range of unmentionables.

“This year I had been a little more circumspect, and had not packed my contraceptive equipment out of sheer embarrassment.

“As usual up there, it had been bitterly cold, and what with one thing and another…”

PA

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