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Updated 04/24/2013


Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle is a large estate house situated in the area of Aberdeenshire, Scotland known as Royal Deeside. The estate was purchased by Queen Victoria's consort Prince Albert, and remains a favorite summer royal residence.  The Balmoral Estate began as a home built by Sir William Drummond in 1390. The estate was formerly owned by King Robert II (1371–1390), who had a hunting lodge in the area.

After Drummond, the estate was sold to Alexander Gordon, the 3rd Earl of Huntly, in the 15th century. The estate remained in the family's hands until it was sold in 1662 to the Farquharsons of Invery, who sold the estate in 1798 to the 2nd Earl of Fife. The estate formed part of the coronation activities of King George IV in 1822.

Balmoral is today best known as a royal residence, the summer retreat of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh. The history as a royal residence dates back to 1848, when the house was rented to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert by the trustees of Sir Robert Gordon.  They very much enjoyed their stay in the house, and they paid just over £30,000 for full ownership in 1852. Prince Albert immediately started making plans with William Smith to extend the existing 15th century castle, and make a "new" and bigger castle fit for the royal family.

PM George Stoddart, BEM

Pipe Major George Stoddart, BEM, was born in 1912 in Leith, near Edinburgh. He enlisted in the 2nd Battalion The Cameron Highlanders at age 14 as a boy piper and remained with them until shortly before the start of World War II, when he transferred to the Royal Scots Fusiliers as Pipe Major. He also served as Pipe Major with the 5th Scottish Parachute Regiment during the War and was also with the Liverpool Scottish for a short time.

After the War, he was posted to Edinburgh as the Lowland Brigade Pipe Major and worked closely with Pipe Major Willie Ross conducting the preliminary course for potential pipe majors. When the Edinburgh Military Tattoo started, he was the Lone Piper for many years and became known as the ‘original lone piper’.

In 1959, he retired from the Army and opened a shop with R.G. Hardie in the Lawnmarket just down from Edinburgh Castle. During this time he founded the Eagle Pipers’ Association which quickly became a well known and respected piping organisation. He was a senior piping adjudicator and was affectionally known as ‘Uncle George’.

He died in Edinburgh in 1990.