Queen invites Kate on getting-to-know-you-holiday in Scotland

The Queen has invited the Duchess of Cambridge to Balmoral to 'get to know her', according to royal author Ingrid Seward.

Kate is expected to join her in-laws on the family holiday later this summer on their annual trip to Balmoral, Scotland.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh habitually spend several weeks on their Balmoral estate every August and September.

Usually they are joined at Birkhall on the estate by Prince Charles and Camilla and they are frequently all seen together at the Braemar Highland Games.

And now palace aides have confirmed Kate is likely to join her new family on part of their Scottish visit.

Along with the picturesque Deeside landscape of mountains, lochs and glens, Kate can also look forward to joining in royal picnics, home-cinema evenings with the Queen and the family barbecues where Prince Philip reportedly insists on personally cooking the sausages and steaks himself.

Insiders say the get-together will also finally allow the Queen to spend some time with Kate and get to know her better.

Ms Seward said the forthcoming family holiday in Scotland would also allow Kate to meet all the staff at Balmoral in preparation for her possible future role as mistress of the house.

Ms Seward, editor in chief of Majesty, told the Daily Mail: 'This is quite an important visit for Kate because, believe it or not, the Queen does not really know her very well at all.

'Kate has never had an invitation before to stay at Balmoral - but she is family now and the Queen wants to get to know her.

'It is an important visit in many ways - not least because the Queen will want Kate to meet all the staff - one day she will be responsible for them.

'The Queen needs to present Kate to Scotland. The time has come.'

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge broke with royal tradition by not spending some part of their honeymoon at Balmoral - unlike the Queen herself, Princess Anne and Prince Charles.

However, the newlyweds are no strangers to the area. When Kate and William were both students at St Andrews, they frequently used the Royal estate as a retreat, sharing an estate cottage called Tam-na-Ghar during their breaks from university.

Recently, they have tended to stay at Birkhall, Prince Charles' Scottish, but their forthcoming visit is likely to see Kate staying in the 'big house' at Balmoral Castle for the first time.

Ms Seward explained: 'I think she and William will be expected to stay some of the time at the big house - and perhaps a night or two at their cottage.

'Balmoral can be an ordeal for Royal brides. Diana ended up hating it, she loathed it. Not Scotland - just Balmoral.

'She hated the cold, the wet and the formality. She could not bear all those picnics. You have got to like yomping across the heather.

'In contrast Koo Stark, Prince Andrew's old girlfriend, and the Duchess of York loved it.

'But Kate knows Scotland and is a big walker and outdoor girl. It is also William's favourite place.'

A spokesman for Clarence House said: 'William and Catherine are now spending time as a married couple on Anglesey. We cannot comment on their future private time.'
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