Family: The Queen heads for cooler climes at Balmoral: Her Majesty leaves Windsor Castle for Scottish home

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The Queen has been spotted leaving Windsor Castle to head to her Scottish home at Balmoral after continuing her royal duties during the 40.3C heatwave.

The long-reigning monarch, 96, is travelling to her estate in Aberdeenshire as part of her usual summer stay.

She was seen looking out from the rear passenger window as a police convoy led her vehicle away from Windsor Castle this afternoon.

Balmoral has had a number of adaptations in recent years, including her Craigowan Lodge, which was fitted with a wheelchair-friendly lift in 2021.

The castle was bought for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852 for £32,000, and it has been the Scottish home of the royal family since. She usually arrives at the estate in mid-July.

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It comes after Her Majesty kept calm and carried on with her royal duties as Britain faced its hottest day on record on Tuesday.

True to form, she soldiered on as she welcomed the new US ambassador Jane Hartley from the safety of Windsor Castle during a virtual audience.

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The head of state donned a floral summer dress as she chatted on screen with the American diplomat, who presented her credentials at Buckingham Palace.

The Queen, who was seated in her Oak Room sitting room at Windsor, has in the past been pictured with a Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link purifier fan at the Palace, and is also likely to also have one at her Berkshire abode.


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Despite mobility problems and being less than four years away from her 100th birthday, she has continued her engagements virtually as wildfires were breaking out across the UK amid the heatwave.

The Queen, 96, today donned a floral summer dress as she chatted on screen with the American diplomat, who presented her credentials at Buckingham Palace © Provided by Daily Mail The Queen, 96, today donned a floral summer dress as she chatted on screen with the American diplomat, who presented her credentials at Buckingham Palace The monarch welcomed the new US ambassador Jane Hartley (pictured) from the safety of Windsor Castle during a virtual audience on Tuesday © Provided by Daily Mail The monarch welcomed the new US ambassador Jane Hartley (pictured) from the safety of Windsor Castle during a virtual audience on Tuesday

The mercury hit an unprecedented 40.2C (104.4F) at London Heathrow Airport at 12.50pm - around an hour after a reading of 39.1C (102.4F) in Charlwood, Surrey, beat the previous all-time UK high of 38.7C (101.7F) in Cambridge in July 2019. In third place is 38.5C (101.3F) in Kent in August 2003, and 38.1C (100.6F) in Suffolk yesterday is fourth.

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The trip also comes a week after the Queen officially opened a £22 million hospice building in Maidenhead on Friday.

Her Majesty travelled the short distance from her home to formally launch the new home of the Thames Hospice and to meet staff, volunteers and a patient.

But just as the monarch, who was joined at the outing by the Princess Royal, was introduced to Graham White and his wife Pat, who has stage 4 cancer and is receiving respite care at the centre, his phone rang and he reached into his pocket to turn it off.

The Queen quipped: 'Typical, his mobile instantly rings', and Mr White sheepishly said it was his son ringing.

Her Majesty, who moved with the aid of her now familiar walking stick, looked effortlessly elegant in a blue floral dress when appearing alongside her daughter, Princess Anne, 71, in the Berkshire area this morning.

Just as the monarch, who was joined at today's outing to Thames Hospice by the Princess Royal, was introduced to Graham White and his wife Pat (pictured right), who has stage 4 cancer and is receiving respite care at the centre, his phone rang and he reached into his pocket to turn it off  © Provided by Daily Mail Just as the monarch, who was joined at today's outing to Thames Hospice by the Princess Royal, was introduced to Graham White and his wife Pat (pictured right), who has stage 4 cancer and is receiving respite care at the centre, his phone rang and he reached into his pocket to turn it off

It comes as the Royal Family today received a grovelling apology from the BBC and vowed to never again show Martin Bashir's Panorama interview with Diana, as it agreed to pay their former nanny substantial damages over lies used by the rogue reporter.

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Alexandra Pettifer, better known as Tiggy Legge-Bourke, 57, appeared at the High Court in London this morning for a public apology from the broadcaster over 'fabricated' allegations she had had an affair with the Prince of Wales while working as Charles' personal assistant in 1995.

Mr Bashir is also said to have tricked Diana into believing the nanny had become pregnant by Charles by showing her a faked abortion 'receipt'.

Miss Legge-Bourke's solicitor Louise Prince told the court today that the allegations caused 'serious personal consequences for all concerned'.

The corporation's director-general Tim Davie directed a public apology to Charles, William and Harry, as well as Miss Legge-Bourke herself 'for the way in which Princess Diana was deceived and the subsequent impact on all their lives'.

He agreed with comments previously made by the Duke of Cambridge that the BBC 'failed to ask the tough questions' and admitted it was 'a matter of great regret' that bosses 'did not get to the facts'.

Mr Davie pledged to never show the Panorama programme again, or provide the rights to other broadcasters, adding: 'Had we done our job properly Princess Diana would have known the truth during her lifetime.

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