The Queen gathers her family together at Balmoral for their Scottish summer break after difficult week amid Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's private jet storm and Prince Andrew's past relationship with billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein

  • The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were joined by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for lunch today
  • The Royal Family are enjoying a summer break in the Scottish Balmoral estate following a week of turbulence 
  • It has been a tough week for the Royals, with renewed examination of Prince Andrew's friendship with the late billionaire Jeffrey Epstein - and Harry and Meghan facing scrutiny for their use of private jets this summer 

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The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were joined by Prince William and his wife Kate for lunch today as the Royal Family get away for their summer break in Balmoral following a turbulent week.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were seen jumping out of a Range Rover on the Queen's Scottish estate this afternoon after they flew up to Aberdeen on a budget flight yesterday.

The Queen, wearing a tartan kilt, woolen jumper and dark green sleeveless coat, was seen getting into her own vehicle to drive around the estate and Prince Philip was also seen out and about in the grounds of the castle with his daughter Princess Anne. 

It has been a tough week for the Royals, with renewed examination of Prince Andrew's friendship with the late billionaire Jeffrey Epstein coming at the same time as Prince Harry and his wife Meghan face scrutiny of their repeated use of private jets this summer. 

The Duchess of Cambridge and her husband, Prince William, were seen enjoying the peace and quiet of the grounds of the Queen's Balmoral Castle in Scotland today as the Royal Family enjoy their annual summer get-together on the Scottish estate
The Duchess of Cambridge and her husband, Prince William, were seen enjoying the peace and quiet of the grounds of the Queen's Balmoral Castle in Scotland today as the Royal Family enjoy their annual summer get-together on the Scottish estate

The Duchess of Cambridge and her husband, Prince William, were seen enjoying the peace and quiet of the grounds of the Queen's Balmoral Castle in Scotland today as the Royal Family enjoy their annual summer get-together on the Scottish estate

The Queen was seen wearing a highland kilt as she headed out in her Range Rover on the Balmoral estate today

The Queen was seen wearing a highland kilt as she headed out in her Range Rover on the Balmoral estate today

The 93-year-old monarch was helped by a member of the staff as she clambered up into the seat of the 4x4 near the castle

The 93-year-old monarch was helped by a member of the staff as she clambered up into the seat of the 4x4 near the castle

The Duke of Edinburgh, 98, was also seen out for a stroll in the grounds of the estate today, with his daughter Princess Anne

The Duke of Edinburgh, 98, was also seen out for a stroll in the grounds of the estate today, with his daughter Princess Anne

Princess Anne enjoyed a walk with her husband Tim Laurence were also present as the Queen welcomes her family to Scotland

Princess Anne enjoyed a walk with her husband Tim Laurence were also present as the Queen welcomes her family to Scotland

The death of Jeffrey Epstein in a New York jail has seen a renewed examination of Prince Andrew's past relationship with the disgraced billionaire over the last week.

Today it emerged that, in a 2013 letter by US literary agent John Brockman, it was claimed Andrew had been seen receiving a foot massage from two young Russian women at Epstein's £65m New York apartment. There was no suggestion that any impropriety occured.

Andrew has repeatedly denied any knowledge of Epstein's alleged behaviour, but questions over his wisdom in continuing the friendship have refused to go away.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement said this week: 'The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein's alleged crimes... and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behaviour is abhorrent.'

He was not seen in Scotland today, and was last spotted with his bodyguard at the Real Club Valderrama, one of the most exclusive courses in Europe, in southern Spain.

Peter Phillips, who is the Queen's grandson, wore a striped grey jumper and casual jeans as he walked the dog today

Peter Phillips, who is the Queen's grandson, wore a striped grey jumper and casual jeans as he walked the dog today

Princess Anne was seen in a cap and sunglasses as she took the air at the estate near the River Dee earlier today

Princess Anne was seen in a cap and sunglasses as she took the air at the estate near the River Dee earlier today

Meanwhile, in a further headache for the Royal Family, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have been criticised over their use of a private jet four times in 11 days travelling on holiday to locations on Ibiza and in the south of France this summer.

Yesterday Prince William, his wife Kate and their children were spotted getting off a £73 budget flight to Scotland amid the row over Prince Harry and Meghan Markle 's private jet trips.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took the 8.45am flight from Norwich International Airport to Aberdeen with their children on August 22, with the royal couple and their family spotted being escorted from the budget FlyBe plane and getting into waiting vehicles.  

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expected to join the Royals in Balmoral shortly, though it is not thought they have arrived yet. 

The couple came under fire for 'hypocrisy' recently, having previously spoken of 'making a difference' to the future of the planet and the need for 'urgent intervention' on climate change only to then increase their own carbon footprint through the use of four private jets in just 11 days.

Images revealed the luxury within their 12-seater plane including plush seats, spreads of fine cuisine, huge bathrooms and personal television monitors. 

The Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign plane, which can hit top speeds of 592mph, also has spacious bathrooms big enough for passengers to change clothes and LED lighting which has a dimmer switch for passenger comfort.   

Pictures emerged at the weekend of Harry, Meghan and Archie boarding the £15million private jet in Nice after three days at Sir Elton John's home.

Their arrival in France came just two days after they flew home by private jet from Ibiza after a six-night break celebrating Meghan's 38th birthday.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex came under fire for 'hypocrisy' recently, having previously spoken of 'making a difference' to the future of the planet and the need for 'urgent intervention' on climate change only to then increase their own carbon footprint through the use of four private jets in just 11 days

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex came under fire for 'hypocrisy' recently, having previously spoken of 'making a difference' to the future of the planet and the need for 'urgent intervention' on climate change only to then increase their own carbon footprint through the use of four private jets in just 11 days

The Duke of Sussex is pictured stepping on board the aircraft at Nice Airport, in another trip by the royals by private jet

The Duke of Sussex is pictured stepping on board the aircraft at Nice Airport, in another trip by the royals by private jet

Each flight is estimated to have created a carbon footprint of more than three tons, producing seven times more carbon emissions per person than a commercial flight.

They arrived in France on a 12-seater Cessna aircraft last Wednesday, despite there being more than 20 scheduled commercial flights from London to Nice that day.

Their earlier trip to Ibiza is believed to have produced a footprint of more than four tons.

The carbon footprint – carbon dioxide released as a direct result of an activity – of an average person in the UK is 13 tons a year.

The row then intensified after Piers Morgan criticised them for being 'eco-warriors' without practising what they preach, while several celebrities came to their defence.  

Yesterday Royal sources said the Duchess of Sussex is 'not wasting time' on the public row over her private jet use. 

How Harry and Meghan’s huge seven-ton carbon footprint could cost just £170 to offset 

Harry and Meghan's trip to Nice was estimated to have had a carbon footprint of just over three tons.

The private jet generated an estimated seven times the emissions per person compared to a commercial flight, on which even a business class seat would be more carbon efficient. 

This was on top of their Ibiza trip this month which was believed to have had a footprint of more than four tons

Daren Howarth, the founder of C-Level, another carbon offsetting organisation, told the Telegraph that the figure might be closer to 12 tonnes for the Nice trip alone.

He estimated that each passenger on a private jet emits 0.6 tons of CO2 for each hour flown and therefore the four-hour return flight works out at 2.4 tons of CO2 per passenger.

He calculated, on the basis of five people flying in the jet, a total of 12 tonnes of CO2, which would cost just £168 to offset. 

Sir Elton did not vouchsafe how much he contributed to Carbon Footprint. 

Sources told Katie Nicholl at Vanity Fair that the Duchess is 'moving on and riding above the storm' and is instead focused on 'bigger things' like the launch of her new charity clothing range for Smart Works. 

'She's not wasting time or energy on the row over the private jets, instead she's getting very excited about the new launch,' the source said. 

Another added: 'As far as she is concerned it’s a storm that will blow over. She is focused on bigger things right now.' 

On Tuesday DailyMail.com US Editor-at-Large Piers Morgan took aim at the couple while sat on a British Airways plane to Nice in a cramped seat reading The Cricketer magazine next to a passenger wearing an Arsenal football shirt.

He tweeted: 'Memo to ''eco-warriors'' Meghan and Harry: this is what Economy to Nice looks like. Try it some time. @British_Airways #ManOfThePeople.'

It came after Sir Elton John confirmed he had paid for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to fly to and from Nice for a holiday at his £15million French home.

The 72-year-old singer claimed he had ensured Prince Harry and Meghan's flight to and from the French Riviera last week were carbon neutral by making the 'appropriate contribution' to a carbon footprint fund. 

On social media earlier this week he wrote: 'I am deeply distressed by today's distorted and malicious account in the Press surrounding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's private stay at my home in Nice last week.'

He added he wanted to protect Harry, Meghan and Archie from the 'unnecessary press intrusion' that he believes contributed to the death of Princess Diana.

Actress Jameela Jamil also came to the defence of the Royal couple, claiming they should not travel on public airlines because they are at risk of 'kidnap and assassination'.

She also accused their critics of racism and became embroiled in a row with Morgan who labelled her a 'virtue-signalling twerp'. 

Writing on Twitter, Jamil said: 'Ugh. Dear England and English press, just say you hate her because she's black, and him for marrying a black woman and be done with it God dammit. Your bullying is so embarrassing and obvious. You've all lost your marbles. It's 2019. Grow up.

'And ALSO, it’s not safe for us to be on the same planes as royals or presidents you absolute muppets. They are prime targets for kidnap and sometimes assassination. It’s in the interest of us civilians to not be endangered by proximity to people in such powerful positions.'

Members of the Royal Family including Prince William and Kate gather together for for lunch at a lodge near Loch Muick on Balmoral estate. Pictured is the Queen in the driver's seat of her Range Rover

Members of the Royal Family including Prince William and Kate gather together for for lunch at a lodge near Loch Muick on Balmoral estate. Pictured is the Queen in the driver's seat of her Range Rover

But Piers was quick to retort, writing: 'Vile racist bully accuses all 55 million people in England of being vile racist bullies. I suggest YOU grow up, Ms Jamil, you pathetic virtue-signalling twerp.

'Even by your standards this is hilariously stupid. The royal Sussex eco-warriors flew in BA economy to Nice last year - nobody died, from memory.'

Meghan Markle's best friend Jessica Mulroney also said the Duchess has been the target of 'racist bullies' over the criticism. 

Mulroney took to Instagram on Tuesday to say the Duchess of Sussex had been unfairly criticized and suggested that race was a factor. 

'When someone faces unfair criticism, you call it out. When that person is your friend and your family, you call those critics what they truly are. Shame on you, you racist bullies,' Mulroney wrote. 

She added: 'Three years of undeserved hate and abuse. It's enough.'  

The Duke and Duchess sparked fury again among some of their followers on Instagram by posting a quote on Monday from Archbishop Desmond Tutu on about doing 'your little bit of good'.

'Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world,' the quote read.  

Prince William, Kate Middleton and other royals join the Queen at Balmoral

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