Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are heading to their Balmoral estate in Scotland for annual summer holidays with their families. But this year's holidays will be quite different from the previous years due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The British monarch, who has been isolating with Prince Philip at Windsor Castle since the outbreak of novel coronavirus in March, is hoping to start her summer holidays at her Balmoral estate like every year. However, the other members of the British royal family will stay in separate buildings so that Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh can practise social distancing, as they fall in the high-risk group for the virus at the age of 94 and 99, respectively, reports Daily Mail.

The queen and her family have enjoyed a 12-week holiday at the 50,000-acre estate in Aberdeenshire for each of the past 68 years of her reign. The traditional get-together that they hold for their families every year includes a variety of activities including picnic, horse-riding, and hunting.

The royal couple is heading to Scotland early next month to start the socially-distanced holiday at the estate. Their eldest son Prince Charles, and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, had been isolating at their Birkhall residence on the estate until they recently returned to Clarence House in London to resume public engagements.

At the estate, the queen and Prince Philip will be joined by a "Balmoral bubble" of staff, a source said. Though the family will be staying in other properties on the grounds, they will be able to meet the royal couple for outside activities instead including walks, horse riding, and picnics.

Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Castle is a working estate situated on 49,000 acres of farmland. The queen makes an annual visit to Balmoral and was purchased in 1851. An illustration of the castle can be found on the £100 notes issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland. Wikimedia Commons

According to The Sunday Times, the staff surrounding the couple will include Vice-Admiral Tony Johnstone-Burt, Master of the household; Sir Edward Young, the queen's private secretary, and Paul Whybrew and William Henderson, her pages. Major Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah, her equerry; Terry Pendry, her head groom; Angela Kelly, the queen's personal assistant, and her senior dresser; Jackie Newbold, Kelly's PA; and three assistant dressers will also join.