Braemar Castle – Neighbors to Royalty in Scotland
Braemar Castle in Aberdeenshire has the most famous and illustrious neighbors anyone in Scotland could want. The castle and Invercauld estate is next to Balmoral, the private residence of the British Royal Family. Owned by the Farquharson family, the Invercauld estate is run very much the way Balmoral is and the inspiration has given visitors a lovely property to see, experience and even stay during a vacation.
The castle with its turrets and star-shaped defensive wall is a distinctive landmark in the village of Braemar. The present castle was built in 1628 by the Earl of Mar on the site of an older structure. During his times it served as a fortified castle and also as a hunting tower. Braemar Castle has been the venue and witness to a lot of history over the centuries and has been in the possession of opposing factions. It was the center of the Jacobite resistance, the seat of Hanover authority before it became the charming residence of the Farquharsons of Invercauld.
In 1689, the castle was occupied by the government troops after an unsuccessful attempt to re-establish the Stuart monarchy against the ruling Dutch King William. John Farquharson of Inverey attacked the castle, drove the garrison out and burned the building. The castle lay in ruins for almost sixty years. John Farquharson, 9th Laird of Invercauld, purchased the estate in 1724. He leased Braemar Castle to the government as a garrison post and it was at this time that the castle gained its star-shaped defensive walls. The window shutters of the castle are still engraved with names of the troops from that time.
The military garrison was withdrawn in 1797 and the 12th Laird of Invercauld subsequently restored the castle to make it a family home, which it has remained ever since. Today Braemar contains a museum of the rich two hundred year history of the family with beautiful artifacts from each generation. In addition to fine furniture and beautiful paintings there are interesting memorabilia from the past, including a piece of plaid belonging to Prince Charles Stuart, Canadian Indian objects from the Great Lakes region. The world’s largest cairngorm, a variety of quartz, weighing fifty two pounds is also housed here.