The Queen will be spending ‘much more time’ in Scotland after fitting one of her favorite cottages in the Highlands with a £20,000 wheelchair lift, sources have claimed.
The 95-year-old monarch is also beefing up security around Craigowan Lodge, situated on the Balmoral estate, in Aberdeenshire, with the installation of a new security gate and a state-of-the-art intercom system.
A string of new CCTV cameras will also be installed, reports the Sun, as she plans to visit there more often following the platinum jubilee this summer, which will mark her 70th year on the throne.
News of the ‘wheelchair-friendly’ lift comes after sources said the Queen was struggling with mobility, as she now requires a walking stick and has not been able to walk her much-loved corgis.
The Stiltz Trio is the largest lift of its kind and can carry three adults – it also means Her Majesty can reach her bedroom without having to climb the stairs.
Craigowan Lodge has long been a favorite for the Queen, who visits the seven-bedroom stone cottage every April and August.
It is just one mile from incredible Balmoral Castle and was used by Prince Charles and Princess Diana for their honeymoon in 1981.
A Balmoral insider said: ‘For many years we have thought it would be the perfect place for the Queen to spend more time when she’s older.
‘It’s one of her favorite places in the country.
‘With the proper lift and now this new security, it can effectively be sealed off so she can spend much more time there quietly in her late nineties.’
The extra security measures must now be approved by the local council, which will be expected in the summer.
Plans have also been submitted to prevent tourists or other vehicles from getting close to the property.
Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine, said: ‘Craigowan is one of the Queen’s favorite homes. She loves being there.
‘The idea of making it easier for her so she can spend more time there in the future is a great idea.
‘It’s a big, big house. The security makes it very safe.
‘It makes perfect sense. It’s a home she has always enjoyed and it gives her a bit of independence.’
Royal biographer Penny Junor said of the Queen: ‘I don’t think we will see her out and about as much as it’s quite clear her mobility is challenged.’
She added: ‘She does love Scotland but I would not think she would use it (the cottage) year-round. It’s a lovely place for the summer but it’s pretty cold and bleak during the winter. But it is a very favorite place for her.’
Locals were overjoyed at the prospect of hosting the Queen more often.
James Anderson, chairman of Ballater and Crathie community council, told the Sun: ‘We will be pleased to see more of Her Majesty.
‘She loves it up here and it’s a special place for her.
‘The Royal Family do a lot for the village in bringing in a great deal of business.’
The monarch’s local butcher at Balmoral said people would be delighted if she came up more regularly.
Barry Florence of H.M. Sheridan said: ‘I’ve been lucky and privileged to meet the Queen on a few occasions — she has even been in the shop — and she said to me how much she enjoys it here and feels relaxed.
‘What better place for her to spend more downtime than at Balmoral.’
Windsor Castle has been home to the Queen for much of the past two years, and she is not said to plan on moving back to Buckingham Palace – which is currently undergoing a decade-long £360million renovation and ‘reservicing’ project.
Craigowan Lodge was first bought by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert when they snapped up the sweeping Balmoral estate in 1852.
A source close to the Queen said: ‘This is not a retirement home.’
Mail Online has contacted Buckingham Palace for comment.