The important thing about Balmoral was that, despite its antique aesthetic, it was actually a decidedly modern creation. There was already a house on the estate, but Victoria and Albert wanted something bigger and more comfortable, so they built another one next door. The architectural style was Scots Baronial: faux medieval on the outside, all mod cons inside, an apt metaphor for their heartfelt yet sentimental relationship with Scotland.

Victoria’s family tree was predominantly German, but she had Scottish blood, and so to celebrate her (relatively tangential) Scottish ancestry, she decorated Balmoral with tartan: Hunting Stewart green; White Stewart dress and red Royal Stewart. She outfitted her minions with kilts and sporrans. One of his prime ministers, Lord Rosebery, dubbed his tartan drawing room the ugliest room in the world.

Rosebery was right – Victoria’s furnishings were rather cheesy – but some things are more important than good taste. This ersatz Caledonian decor served a higher purpose. As Scottish historian Michael Lynch remarked in his astute book, Scotland – A New History, “Balmoral’s very Scottish character helped give the monarchy a truly British dimension for the first time. And despite some recent hiccups, it’s a dimension that has lasted.

“All seemed to breathe freedom and peace, and forget the world and its sad tumults”, wrote Queen Victoria poetically about Balmoral. Clearly, in her more down-to-earth way, her great-great-granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II, felt much the same. Elizabeth’s love for Scotland extended far beyond this Aberdeenshire estate, encompassing the entire nation. Inaugurating the Scottish Parliament last year, she spoke of her “deep and abiding affection for this wonderful country”, a country whose public image her family had done so much to shape.