Prince Charles opens Virtual Highland Games 2020 in Braemar Aberdeenshire

Prince Charles was in a jovial mood as he formally opened a virtual edition of the Highland Games after the annual summer event was cancelled due to Covid-19

Charles, 71, known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, was on hand to raise the standard as a small group gathered on August 29 to compete behind closed doors in a pared-back version of the Braemar Highland Games, in Aberdeenshire. 

The event was filmed and shown online from Saturday 12, in an event dubbed ‘the Virtual Highland Games’.

Photos of Prince Charles at the opening event were released this week. 

Royal opening: Prince Charles was in a jovial mood as he formally opened the virtual Highland Games after the annual summer event was cancelled due to Covid-19

Royal opening: Prince Charles was in a jovial mood as he formally opened the virtual Highland Games after the annual summer event was cancelled due to Covid-19

Raising the standard: Charles, 71, known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, was on hand to raise the standard as a small group gathered to compete behind closed doors in a pared-back version of the Braemar Games, one of 60 Highland Games cancelled due to the virus

Raising the standard: Charles, 71, known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, was on hand to raise the standard as a small group gathered to compete behind closed doors in a pared-back version of the Braemar Games, one of 60 Highland Games cancelled due to the virus

The Duke of Rothesay typically attends the Games, known as the Braemar Gathering, alongside his mother the Queen, 93, and it is a highlight in the royals’ summer calendar. 

This year a series of track, dancing, piping and heavy events took place without an audience. 

However the competitions were filmed and combined with recordings of hill race and tug of war competitions to create a full day of online programming on September 12 which was dubbed the ‘Virtual Highland Games’.  

The broadcast, which was shown via Facebook, attracted 250,000 viewers in the first 48 hours, figures reveal. 

David Geddes, the president of the Braemar Royal Highland Society, said: ‘This was a great team effort and I have to commend and thank those who came together at short notice to work towards Saturday’s event. 

‘We are also very grateful to his Royal Highness the Duke of Rothesay who attended the opening ceremony as Patron of the SHGA, lending his and the Royal Family’s support both on the day of filming and over the weekend to the virtual event.’ 

This year the Braemar Games consisted of a series of track, dancing, piping and heavy events took place without an audience. Pictured, Solo Piping with John McDonald playing the 'Lonach Gathering' March, with judge Duncan Watson, a previous gold medal winner in piping

This year the Braemar Games consisted of a series of track, dancing, piping and heavy events took place without an audience. Pictured, Solo Piping with John McDonald playing the ‘Lonach Gathering’ March, with judge Duncan Watson, a previous gold medal winner in piping

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall spent the summer at Birkhall, their private residence on Her Majesty’s Aberdeenshire estate.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, 99, left Balmoral to travel to Sandringham yesterday after deciding to end their summer holiday two weeks early.  

Prince Charles’ most recent outing was to unveil the 100th community fridge in Scotland at Dumfries House in East Ayrshire last week. 

The Community Fridge Network, run by environmental charity Hubbub, supports community fridges across the UK to share good food from local businesses and individuals that would have otherwise gone to waste.

The 100th addition was set up at Dumfries House, part of The Prince’s Foundation – an educational charity established by the Prince of Wales in 1986.

Dancers compete in another event that was filmed and later broadcast via Facebook

Dancers compete in another event that was filmed and later broadcast via Facebook