Prince of Wales visits Balmoral and goes deer hunting on first Scotland tour since Queen’s funeral

Prince William returned to Scotland at the weekend to make a personal pilgrimage back to Balmoral for the first time since his grandmother’s funeral, Queen Elizabeth II.

The Prince of Wales is believed to have spent the weekend at Craigowan Lodge, which was one of Her Majesty’s favorite boltholes on the Scottish estate and was used on less formal occasions when he went deer stalking.

It would have been a bittersweet reunion for the first in line to the throne, who was last in Scotland just over a month ago when he rushed to be at the Queen’s side when she died at the 50,000-acre estate on September 8 .

A source told the Daily Mail’s Richard Eden: ‘He was staying at Craigowan Lodge, where Her Majesty used to stay. He was just there for the weekend.’

By stalking deer, the prince is following in the footsteps of both his grandmother and his grandfather, Prince Philip, who introduced him and his brother Harry to it when they were boys.

Deer stalking is the act of culling aging deer that would otherwise die in winter, with William shooting his first when he was 14 years old, something said to have delighted him at the time.

The activity, which has been a shared passion among generations of the royal family, was encouraged by William’s father, King Charles III, while Princess Diana used to jokingly call him ‘my killer Wales’.

William is not believed to have been joined in Scotland by his wife Catherine, herself a keen shooter, and their children. A spokesman for Kensington Palace declined to comment.

His return to the Scottish estate would have brought back memories for the prince, and it was just over a month ago that he and other members of the royal family rushed to reach the queen’s side as her health failed.

William flew up to Scotland in the company of his uncles Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, but they, along with Prince Harry, who made his own way there, were unable to reach Balmoral before Her Majesty died.

Prince William is said to have been deer chasing in Balmoral at the weekend.  Pictured: The Prince of Wales (left) with his father Charles (centre) and younger brother Harry (right) at Balmoral when he was a teenager

Prince William is said to have been deer chasing in Balmoral at the weekend. Pictured: The Prince of Wales (left) with his father Charles (centre) and younger brother Harry (right) at Balmoral when he was a teenager

The Prince of Wales was introduced to deer stalking by his grandfather, Prince Philip, and his grandmother was a keen supporter of the activity.  Pictured: Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral in 1972

The Prince of Wales was introduced to deer stalking by his grandfather, Prince Philip, and his grandmother was a keen supporter of the activity. Pictured: Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral in 1972

It is the first time William has returned to Scotland since the Queen's funeral last month.  Pictured: Prince William (left) drives a car containing Prince Andrew (second left), the Countess of Wessex (second right) and Prince Edward (right) into Balmoral following the death of his grandmother

It is the first time William has returned to Scotland since the Queen’s funeral last month. Pictured: Prince William (left) drives a car containing Prince Andrew (second left), the Countess of Wessex (second right) and Prince Edward (right) into Balmoral following the death of his grandmother

William is said to have stayed at Craigowan Lodge in Balmoral, which was one of the Queen's favorite boltholes.  Pictured: Craigowan Lodge

William is said to have stayed at Craigowan Lodge in Balmoral, which was one of the Queen’s favorite boltholes. Pictured: Craigowan Lodge

The Prince of Wales has taken up his royal duties since the death of his grandmother last month.  Pictured: William waves to the crowd during a visit to Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland on Thursday, October 6

The Prince of Wales has taken up his royal duties since the death of his grandmother last month. Pictured: William waves to the crowd during a visit to Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland on Thursday, October 6

Prince William and his brother Harry were introduced to hunting by their grandfather and their interest in the activity was encouraged by their father.  Pictured: William and Harry at Balmoral when they were younger

Prince William and his brother Harry were introduced to hunting by their grandfather and their interest in the activity was encouraged by their father. Pictured: William and Harry at Balmoral when they were younger

The Prince of Wales, along with his wife, then took a key role in the days of national mourning that followed the Queen’s death at the age of 96 on 8 September.

And since then he has made several visits as part of his royal duties, including visits to Wales and Northern Ireland, where he and Catherine were both greeted by large crowds of adoring fans.

The couple fulfilled a number of engagements with cross-community organizations that support people of all backgrounds in Northern Ireland last week.

They began with a visit to the suicide prevention charity PIPS in north Belfast.

Lord Mayor Tina Black and Sinn Fein MP for the constituency John Finucane were among those to welcome the royal couple on arrival.

Inside, 12-year-old Elyse Quinn, daughter of the charity’s chief executive Renee Quinn, presented the princess with a bouquet of flowers.

During their visit, William and Kate spoke to staff about their work helping people at risk of suicide and self-harm.

The charity also arranged for them to take part in an art therapy session painting pumpkins with some vulnerable children who have been supported by PIPS.

After the visit to PIPS, the pair traveled into Belfast city center to see the Trademarket, a new outdoor street food and retail market, where they took part in a lively cocktail race.

After William was declared the winner, the couple heard more about the Trademarket business, which transformed a previously vacant space with the aim of showcasing new businesses while increasing footfall in a less visited area.

The prince’s trip north came just days before the couple announced they had recorded a special program for BBC Radio One’s Newsbeat to mark World Mental Health Day.

The couple’s discussion about the importance of mental health will be broadcast on Tuesday, with the Princess of Wales telling listeners that ‘Newsbeat will sound a bit different’ tomorrow.

The Prince of Wales then said: ‘As part of World Mental Health Day, Catherine and I have recorded a special program taking over the radio to talk about the importance of mental health.’

William added that they will be talking about mental health toolkits, which can give people coping skills and resources to ease anxiety and depression.

The Prince and Princess of Wales (pictured with Emma Hardwell, Ben Cowley, Antonio Ferreria, Dr Abigail Miranda and Pria Rai) have recorded a special program for BBC Radio One's Newsbeat to mark World Mental Health Day

The Prince and Princess of Wales (pictured with Emma Hardwell, Ben Cowley, Antonio Ferreria, Dr Abigail Miranda and Pria Rai) have recorded a special program for BBC Radio One’s Newsbeat to mark World Mental Health Day

William and Kate announced on Monday's Newsbeat show that their discussion (pictured) about the importance of mental health will be broadcast on Tuesday

William and Kate announced on Monday’s Newsbeat show that their discussion (pictured) about the importance of mental health will be broadcast on Tuesday

‘A toolbox is quite a useful analogy to use. A lot of people don’t realize what they need until it comes,” the father-of-three said.

He added: ‘You can be living a life for a minute and something changes massively and you realize you don’t necessarily have the tools or the experience to deal with it.’

Kate also told listeners she would ‘love to know’ how they look after their own mental health, which was followed by a guest who then explained her approach to the royal couple.

‘There is no right or wrong, that is the point. Different things will work for different people,” she said.

The full show, recorded on World Mental Health Day in Radio 1’s Live Lounge, will be broadcast on Tuesday on Radio 1, 1Xtra and the Asian Network.

During the pre-recorded programme, the prince and princess also discussed the stigma surrounding mental health and the pressures of social media, according to the BBC.

William said the royal couple wanted to ‘have a meaningful conversation about mental health’, while his wife Kate added: ‘The first step for all of us is to keep having these conversations and keep reaching out for help.’

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