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Queen plots retreat away from Windsor Castle to secure home with ‘wheelchair lift’

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New security measures are being fitted at Craigowan Lodge on the Balmoral estate as the monarch prepares to spend more time there. The Highlands cottage is said to be one of the Queen’s favourite homes. The 95-year-old monarch is reportedly planning to spend much more time at the retreat in the coming months, as she marks her 70th year on the throne.

A £20,000 lift has been fitted in the cottage – just a mile from Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire – in anticipation of the Queen’s more regular visits, according to The Sun.

It comes after reports that the Queen has been struggling with her mobility in recent months. She has reportedly used a walking stick and has not been able to walk her beloved corgis.

The “wheelchair-friendly” Lifton Trio lift is the largest in its range and would ensure that the monarch is able to reach her bedroom without using the stairs.

Security measures have also been ramped up at Craigowan Lodge, with a security gate, intercom system and CCTV cameras all due to be installed at the country retreat.

The monarch typically stays at the cottage twice a year, once in April and for two weeks over summer.

It was a favourite haunt of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, who used the retreat for their honeymoon in 1981.

Royal insiders have said that they expected the monarch to want to spend more time there as she got older.

A Balmoral insider told the newspaper: “For many years we have thought it would be the perfect place for the Queen to spend more time when she’s older. It’s one of her favourite places in the country.

“With the proper lift and now this new security, it can effectively be sealed off so she can spend much more time there quietly in her late nineties.”

Plans for the adaptations have been submitted to the local council, which is expected to approve the measures by the summer.

Security measures including a secure gate, fence, police sentry point and CCTV are already in place at the house, but the system will need to be ramped up if the monarch is due to spend more time there.

A new security gate, intercom and road cameras are due to be installed to stop members of the public getting near the cottage.

The Queen’s granddaughter Princess Eugenie has previously said the Scottish home is one of the monarch’s favourite retreats.

Speaking in ITV’s 2016 documentary ‘Our Queen at Ninety’, she said: “It’s the most beautiful place on earth. I think Granny is the most happy there. I think she really, really loves the Highlands.

“Walks, picnics, dogs — a lot of dogs, there’s always dogs — and people coming in and out all the time. It’s a lovely base.”

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Locals are reportedly overjoyed that Her Majesty will be spending more time in the local area.

The Queen has made Windsor Castle in Berkshire her base for the majority of the past two years.

It has been confirmed that the monarch will never again live at Buckingham Palace in London, which is currently undergoing a £360 million revamp expected to take 10 years to complete.

Craigowan Lodge has been in the Royal Family since 1852, when it was bought with Balmoral estate by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Buckingham Palace was approached for comment. 

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