Balmoral Tartan – The Royal Tartan
This is the original Balmoral is reported to have been designed by Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert in 1853. While predominantly grey with overchecks of red and black the background contains threads of black and white yarns twisted together to achieve the appearance of the rough hewn granite so familiar in Royal Deeside.
Paintings by Carl Haag are amongst the earliest records we have of the Balmoral tartan and disprove the often cited statement that it was designed in 1857. In the early years the tartan was only worn by Ghillies on the Balmoral Estate and some of the Royal children, the grown ups continued to wear the Royal Stewart. Over time the Royal family started wearing the tartan instead of Royal Stewart
It is worn by HM Queen herself as a skirt and several members of the Royal Family but only with the Queen’s permission. The only other approved wearer of the Balmoral Tartan is the Queen’s personal piper ( today the Estate workers and Ghillies wear the Balmoral Tweed).
D W Stewart wrote in ‘Old and Rare Scottish Tartans’ (1893), ‘Her Majesty the Queen has not only granted permission for its publication here, but has also graciously afforded information concerning its inception in the early years of the reign, when the sett was designed by the Prince Consort.’ There is also a smaller sett that was woven for the children’s clothes. Checked against original cloth sample woven by Kinloch Anderson, holders of the Royal Warrant. The Balmoral was originally woven only by Romanes & Paterson of Edinburgh.
Tartan Details – Balmoral (Royal)
The information held within The Scottish Register of Tartans for the “Balmoral (Royal)” tartan is shown below.
STA ref: 1300
STWR ref: 1300
Designer: Albert, Prince Consort
Tartan date: 01/01/1853
Registration date: Not Specified
For more details about the creation of the Balmoral Tartan see Peter MacDonald's research link