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King Charles Sports a Kilt — and Tries a Drink! — at Whisky Distillery in Scotland

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King Charles is savoring the last weeks of summer one sip at a time.

On Wednesday, the 74-year-old sovereign stepped out in John O’Groats, Wick, Scotland to officially open 8 Doors Distillery. The business is the most northerly mainland whisky distillery in Scotland and is producing the village’s first scotch whisky since 1837.

Charles seemed to be in good spirits despite a little drizzle and stylishly sported a tartan kilt, as he often does in Scotland. The King was greeted by 8 Doors Distillery owners Kerry and Derek Campbell and ceremoniously unveiled a plaque, which was appropriately perched atop a barrel. He then moved to the distillery shop to meet staff and had a sweet exchange with two young boys, who dramatically bowed when they met the monarch.

King Charles opened 8 Doors Distillery in John O’Groats, Scotland on August 2.

Tim Rooke/Shutterstock


The King then checked out the stillroom and learned more about the sustainable vision for the micro-distillery. Sourcing supplies as locally as possible, the Campbells repurposed all of the stainless-steel vessels used for production from other sites.

In a further push, the waste from the distillation process is also collected and transformed into bio-gas for reuse at an anaerobic digestion plant in the area. Discussion about the practices was likely a lively one, as Charles has long been interested in environmental conservation issues

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King Charles opened 8 Doors Distillery in John O’Groats, Scotland on August 2.

Tim Rooke/Shutterstock


A distillery visit wouldn’t be complete without a drink, and the King amicably tried a sample. The sovereign then filled a cask, signed a visitor’s book and headed to the local square to meet food producers, community reps and members of the public.

For the last stop of the outing, Charles chatted with a blacksmith at a forge, as beacons glowed in honor of his historic coronation. While the King and Queen Camilla were symbolically crowned in a grand ceremony at Westminster Abbey in London on May 6, Scotland also marked the crowning with a second coronation celebration. 

King Charles opened 8 Doors Distillery in John O’Groats, Scotland on August 2.

Tim Rooke/Shutterstock


On July 5, King Charles stepped out in Edinburgh for the National Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication at St Giles’ Cathedral with Camilla, Prince William and Kate Middleton. From formal processions through the streets to the presentation of crown jewels during a church service, much of the pomp mirrored the pageantry seen at the May crowning on a smaller scale. 

While it may seem unusual for Charles and Camilla to mark the occasion of their coronation with a second set of festivities, they followed precedent set by Queen Elizabeth.

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Kate Middleton, Prince William, King Charles and Queen Camilla at the Scotland coronation celebration on July 5.

AARON CHOWN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images


Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited Scotland a few weeks after her coronation in June 1953 for a similar fête highlighted by the presentation of the Honours of Scotland, the country’s crown jewels. The ritual was the first of its kind in a few generations, as a Scottish celebration for a sovereign’s coronation had not been held since King George IV in 1822.

Charles and Camilla, 76, will likely be thinking of Queen Elizabeth as they spend time in Scotland this month at and around Balmoral Castle. Members of the royal family typically take private vacations between July and August to relax, recharge and return ready for the fall, and Balmoral is a favorite escape.

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Charles and Camilla attend the Braemar Games in September 2022.
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

The royal couple has the keys to the Castle of Mey near John O’Groats and Birkhall Estate by Balmoral, as well as the vast castle itself. Charles inherited both properties from his beloved grandmother Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and is known to visit both homes each year.

King Charles and Queen Camilla will likely convene with other members of the royal family at Balmoral in the coming weeks, where Queen Elizabeth will be top of mind. The private royal residence in the Scottish highlands was her summer sanctuary throughout her record-breaking reign, and she traditionally spent every August there.

Queen Elizabeth died at Balmoral at age 96 on Sept. 8, 2022.

Princess Anne, Prince Philip, Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles at Balmoral.
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