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Web Desk
November 16, 2020

What is the Balmoral Test and how did Princess Diana pass it with flying colours?

Web Desk
Mon, Nov 16, 2020

All royal fans currently binge-watching the fourth season of Netflix’s The Crown have been completely entwined with the dramatic entry of Princess Diana’s character.

And as the future Princess of Wales was introduced to the plethora of fans, there was one shared question hovering over all our heads: What is the Balmoral Test?

Royal expert and Royal Editor at Large for Omid Scobie spoke about the initiation process.

“They call it the queen’s Balmoral Test but I would call it more of a royal initiation. Out of those privileged enough to have been invited to Balmoral Castle during the summer, not everyone has passed,” he said.

“Diana famously flew through it, thanks to her aristocratic background and upbringing, but the likes of Cherie Blair [the wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair] and our current Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, have not,” he went on to say.

“If you’ve scored an invite, prepare to brush up on your royal protocol, have a wealth of talking points at the ready, an outfit for EVERY occasion (from hunting to black tie) and, most importantly, be on your best behavior at all times. Social etiquette is a must!”

“If you don’t like the food, eat it anyway. If you don’t like trampling through the Highlands in the wind and rain, tough! Unlike a visit to Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle, this is the queen’s private residence and a front row seat within her inner sanctum. You are entering her space and whatever she does goes,” he said.

“I’ve heard of guests being so keen to impress during their Balmoral stay, and so worried about being judged for putting a foot wrong, they will go as far as packing brand new pajamas, underwear, and toiletries so that when a maid or valet unpacks their belongings away in their room, absolutely nothing can be judged and no negative word can get back to the queen,” he continued.

“But despite all the talk of it being a ‘test’, the Queen is also at her most laid back during summers at Balmoral. Her Majesty will always goes out of her way to make every guest feel welcome and at home,” he said.

“You will be included in the family barbecues, part of every meal and, if you’re lucky enough, get to play with the queen’s dogs,” he added.

Tobias Menzies, who plays Prince Philip on the show, spoke about the Balmoral Test episode which shows Diana and Margaret Thatcher being tested.

"Two very different women [Princess Diana and Margaret Thatcher] being tested through this prism of the strange etiquette and rules, slightly unreadable, of this family,” he said.

"Diana gets it and therefore passes with flying colors, [which] is a big part of why that relationship is championed by the family going forward. Whereas Thatcher is out of her depth and doesn't understand the hidden, unspoken rules, and sets up the rest of the series about her kind of animosity to the privilege of this class,” he added.