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Sophie Wessex latest: Queen’s ‘favourite’ copied Kate Middleton with considered move

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Sophie, Countess of Wessex, 55, and her family were the first royals to join Queen Elizabeth II, 94, and Prince Philip, 99, at Balmoral this year. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh left Windsor Castle for Aberdeenshire last week and are expected to remain there until autumn.

Given the coronavirus pandemic, it was unclear whether the Queen and Philip would host visitors at their Scottish hideaway this year.

However, it seems they have gone ahead with the invites as Sophie, Prince Edward and their two children – Lady Louise Windsor, 16, and James, Viscount Severn were snapped out walking with the Queen in the grounds of Balmoral at the weekend.

Whether or not the Queen and Philip will welcome more Royal Family members to visit them in the weeks to come remains to be seen.

However, the Queen will have been glad to catch with Sophie, Edward and her grandchildren after many weeks apart.

The Queen and Philip are both vulnerable to COVID-19 due to their age so any family reunions which do occur will be socially-distanced.

Sophie and her family are not the first royals to have opted for a UK staycation this year.

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, 38, and Prince William, 38, took their three-children for a holiday on the Isles of Scilly off the Cornish coast last month.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were spotted out cycling on the Isle of Tresco.

One holidaymaker said: “William and Kate were riding their bicycles, having a laugh.

“They looked so happy enjoying the weather.”

They added: “I did do a double-take. They were really friendly and said hello.”

The Cambridges are understood to have spent several days away before returning to Anmer Hall in Norfolk.

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Royal mums Kate and Sophie may be making the most of having their children at home before they return to school in September.

Prince Philip and the Queen made the journey to Balmoral by plane but it is not confirmed how Sophie and Edward travelled there.

Traditionally, Prince Andrew and his daughters Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice also visit Balmoral every summer but it is not confirmed if they will make the trip this year.

The Queen and Philip were among guests at Princess Beatrice’s low key wedding on July 17.

The ceremony was carried out in keeping with COVID-19 guidelines and there were no more than 30 guests.

Ahead of the pandemic Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were reported to have accepted an invitation to visit the Queen at Balmoral this summer.

However, the couple has been based in Los Angeles with their son Archie Harrison since March and are unlikely to return to the UK for the foreseeable future.

Archie will not have seen his great-grandparents – the Queen and Philip for months as he was last in the UK in November 2019.

Princess Anne may visit Balmoral later this summer as she usually takes a sailing trip with her husband Timothy Lawrence off the Scottish coast.

They could tie this sailing holiday in with a stay at Balmoral.

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