Queen Elizabeth II and Kate Middleton
Queen Elizabeth II and Kate Middleton share a warm relationship PA

The Queen proved she is still very much in the driver's seat as she gave Kate Middleton a personal tour around her Balmoral estate. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were joining the Queen for a picnic lunch in the hills above Loch Muick on the Balmoral estate.

With security guards in the back seat Kate looked relaxed in the front passenger seat as the monarch drove her around her beloved Scottish estate.

A smiling Kate looked happy as she sat in the dark green Range Rover in a khaki coat and patterned scarf. The pair surprised walkers on the public path at Loch Muick who were delighted to see the Queen and Kate drive past.

Despite reports of a rift between the Queen and her grand-daughter-law, the pair appear to share a warm relationship. Speaking on the Queen's 90th birthday Kate praised the queen for helping her with her royal engagements. "She's been very generous and not sort of being forceful at all in any of her views," she said. "I feel she's been sort of a gentle guidance, really, for me," she added.

The 90-year-old monarch was later also spotted driving Kate's mother, Carole Middleton, back to Balmoral from a grouse shoot on Saturday. It is thought to be the first time that the Middletons had stayed at Balmoral as guests of the Queen.

Prince William and Kate, who arrived in Royal Deeside on Thursday (8 September), are staying at Prince Charles's private Birkhall residence with their children, Prince George, three, and one-year-old Princess Charlotte, giving the Queen some quality time with her great-grandchildren.

Earlier William, 34, was spotted driving a converted Land Rover Defender up the Capel Mounth path on the way to Glen Clova for a grouse shoot. He was joined by the Queen and Kate who arrived later accompanied by Special Branch officers.

The Scottish trip was a welcome break for the couple who are due to set off to Canada for an official Royal tour with their children from 24 September until 1 October, Mail Online reports.