The Queen’s wanderlust takes her to Scotland in episode 7 of Victoria series 2 – and we are very glad it does, because it gives us a chance to look at the extraordinarily beautiful landscape of the Scottish Highlands.
Fed up with assassination attempts in London, Victoria decides to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and make a royal visit to Scotland. She is welcomed by the Duke of Atholl, played by guest star Denis Lawson.
Where is the Scottish castle in Victoria episode 7?
This episode was filmed at Blair Castle in Perthshire – a castle actually visited by Queen Victoria several times.
A spokesperson said: “We have 145,000 acres on Atholl Estates and could easily offer the diverse range of scenery that the show needed, from flowing rivers to vast mountainous backdrops, and of course the pinnacle, which is the beautiful Castle itself.”
The characters, led by Jenna Coleman’s Queen Victoria, first arrive at the castle forecourt where they are greeted by the Duke and his regiment of Atholl Highlanders.
The real Queen Victoria was the one who founded this regiment after visiting in 1844, and several actual Atholl Highlanders took part in the filming. As they are separate from the British Army, the Atholl Highlanders are now Europe’s only legal private army.
Two of the estate’s native Highland ponies were also used in filming and were ridden by Victoria and Albert (Tom Hughes) when filming took place in June 2017.
What did the real Queen Victoria do at Blair Castle?
Queen Victoria made her first visit in 1844, with Prince Albert and their daughter Vicky at her side. In her diary she recorded idyllic walks, shooting, hunting, planting trees, pony riding and the sound of the stags at night.
She wasn’t too excited by the castle itself (“the house is ugly outside” with “peculiarly distributed” rooms) but when it came to the scenery, she wrote: “I cannot describe how beautiful it is. Albert was in perfect ecstasies.”
Other extracts include:
“I got on to my pony, proceeding up a narrow steep path all along the Pass, overhanging the river, & with lovely peeps of the distant scenery.”
“We dined alone, happily together, & then played &C. Looked out of the window, & listened to the deer who were grazing just below. The stags were roaring like lions, & do so all through the night, but I have got quite accustomed to it.”
“After dinner we went down to the Hall, & saw all the Gentlemen & men dance Reels, which they did with the greatest animation.”
“I am so sad at thinking of leaving this charming place, & the quiet, liberty, & the pure air we have enjoyed. The action life we have been leading, peculiar in its way, has been so delightful.”
What is the history of Blair Castle?
Blair Castle is located near the village of Blair Atholl in Perthshire in Scotland. It dates back to 1269 when the cheeky Lord of Badenoch started building on the Earl of Atholl’s land while he was away on crusade. The original part of the castle that still stands is called Comyn’s Tower.
By the 17th century it was in the hands of the Murray family – who have kept hold of it for 19 generations. It was used by Oliver Cromwell’s army when he invaded in 1650 and has also been through the Jacobite Uprising, a battle and multiple sieges.
Queen Victoria visited the castle with Prince Albert – but it wouldn’t have looked exactly the same back then. The ITV drama shows the royal visit in the 1840s, but the exterior was significantly remodelled in the sixties and seventies.
The 10th Duke of Atholl, George Murray, placed Blair Castle in a charitable trust at the end of the 20th century. His heirs live in South Africa and the castle is open to visitors.