Queen’s Balmoral test which Princess Diana passed – but Thatcher failed

The Balmoral "test" is reportedly Queen Elizabeth II's initiation ceremony to see whether an outsider will be welcomed by the Royal family.

It goes without saying that they can’t just let anyone into their inner circle.

The taxing initiation ceremony plays a pivotal role in the newest series of The Crown, with an entire episode dedicated to how Margaret Thatcher dealt with it.

Episode four is titled The Balmoral Test, and if you want to watch it without knowing what happens we advise you stop reading here.

Historical spoilers ahead

Princess Diana is said to have passed it with flying colours – but others, liked Cherie Blair, not so much, reports Daily Record.

The “test” itself is what the guests of the Queen’s Aberdeenshire home believe they are under when they are invited to her home.

Former Royal butler Grant Harrold, who worked for the family for seven years, explained: “Balmoral, like Sandringham, is the Queen’s private family home.

“If she invites you to Balmoral, then you are being invited to spend time with the Royal Family in a personal setting.

“You are going to be dining with the Queen – lunch, dinner, perhaps a picnic or even a barbecue.”

Guests are usually going to be invited to “be out on the hills with the Queen” and do other activities such as “fishing, hunting” or “other country pursuits”.

Mr Harrold added: “Balmoral is a great place to be around the Royal Family and for them to get to know you.

“It can be a bit of a test to make sure you pass the muster.

“You are going to want to dress the part, speak the part and behave the part.”

He explained that it was easy for Princess Diana, because she “came from a similar background but that’s not true of all the guests who are invited to Balmoral”.

Margaret Thatcher was one of the lucky people to be invited to Balmoral, but she had a complicated and often tense relationship with the monarch.

The Iron Lady is said to have viewed early visits to Balmoral as a “tedious waste of time” from which she “couldn’t get away fast enough”.

The then prime minister regularly had to borrow wellies, as she turned up in just high heels.

Thatcher was stunned during her visit to see the Queen doing the washing up.

Royal biographer Lady Colin Campbell said: “Mrs Thatcher bought her rubber gloves and sent them to her, which is rather sweet.”

Meanwhile, ex wife of Tony Blair Cherie also struggled to connect with some of the Royals.

In her autobiography, she wrote: “While the Queen is very approachable, I can’t say the same about Princess Margaret.

“At one point, Princess Anne came over and said something that included, ‘Mrs Blair.’ ‘Oh. Please call me Cherie,’ I said. She replied, ‘I’d rather not.’”

The Queen Mother was also reportedly “mortified” by the lawyer’s trousers.

When Sarah Ferguson was at Balmoral in 1992, photos were published of her having her toes sucked by her then lover John Bryan.

In her 1996 autobiography, the duchess described the breakfast at Balmoral when her in-laws found out about the scandal. She said: “The Queen was furious.”

Meanwhile, the Queen was reportedly “uncomfortable” when Boris Johnson’s partner Carrie Symonds stayed overnight in Balmoral in 2019, because they weren’t married.

According to Royal tradition, unwed couples are usually banned from staying together overnight at one of the Queen’s residences.

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