For more than 170 years, the royal family has leased the sporting rights at the Abergeldie Estate in Scotland, a property that spans 11,500 acres and is situated close to Balmoral Castle, where the royals vacation in late summer. Since 1852, shortly after Prince Albert bought Balmoral for Queen Victoria, the family has used the neighboring estate for outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, and shooting.
However, Abergeldie’s current owner is now cutting off their access. In 2021, the Scottish retreat was bought by businessman Alastair Storey for £23 million ($28 million), and according to recently filed planning documents with Aberdeenshire Council, Storey is introducing some major changes.
Storey, the CEO of Westbury Street Holdings, plans to build private accommodation and hunting lodges on the sprawling property, putting an end to the royal family’s centuries-long hunting deal.
The royals are familiar with Storey, whom the late Queen Elizabeth II appointed as an OBE in 2017.
Abergeldie Estate was previously owned by the Gordon family, who were given the property by James III in 1482, and first negotiated a lease with Prince Albert. Following the death of John Gordon, 21st Baron of Abergeldie, in 2020, the estate was put up for sale.
This isn’t the only royal convention to have been broken in recent years. For example, in 2022, it was decided that the long-standing tradition of ringing the bells of Westminster Abbey to celebrate royal birthdays would be scrapped.