It's not a 'snub' as Meghan and Harry pull out of Balmoral trip
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London - It’s one of the must-dos of the royal calendar, a long weekend enjoying the charm of summer in the Highlands with Queen Elizabeth.
But while most of the Royal Family have made the long trek to Balmoral this summer, it seems the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have decided to stay at home instead.
It's emerged that despite rumours they would be joining the monarch with their baby son Archie, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle actually have no plans to fly up to Scotland at all.
Sources close to the couple insist that the decision should not be seen as a "snub".
In truth, Harry, 34, only rarely goes up to the Queen’s Deeside estate nowadays, although he did spend every summer there as a child.
The lure of fly fishing in the Dee, picnics and barbecues in the rain and long tramps through the midge-infested highlands around Balmoral have never held that much appeal.
The sources also stressed that now the couple live in Frogmore Cottage on the Queen’s estate at Windsor, they see the monarch much more regularly than most family members anyway.
Charles and Camilla have been staying at Birkhall, their neighbouring estate, for most of July and August, while Princess Anne, the Duke and Duchess of York and the Earl and Countess of Wessex and their children, Louise and James, have all holidayed with the Queen and Prince Philip.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge got a budget flight to Scotland with their three youngsters for a break with their great-grandmother last month.
Meghan, 38, hasn’t yet visited Balmoral, which was bought by Queen Victoria, although the couple visited both Birkhall and the Castle of Mey in Scotland with Charles last summer.
And, the privacy-obsessed Sussexes have been under fire for taking four private flights in 11 days last month after previously claiming they will have a maximum of two children to avoid damaging the environment.
They flew to Ibiza by private jet on August 6 for Meghan’s 38th birthday.
Days later, they flew to Nice on a £15-million (about R273-million) Cessna Citation Sovereign which features a refreshment bar and is described as the "pinnacle of luxury".
Sir Elton said he paid for their flights to his holiday home and made an "appropriate contribution" to a carbon footprint fund to offset the environmental impact.