The Queen was greeted by the the Royal Regiment of Scotland’s Shetland pony mascot as she took up residence at her summer retreat.

To mark her official arrival at Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire, on Tuesday she received a guard of honour from Balaklava Company, 5th Battalion.

Pipes and drums were provided by 4th Battalion as the Queen, wearing a pale blue ensemble, inspected the soldiers in the drizzle.

Queen summer residence at Balmoral 2019
The Queen at the gates at Balmoral, as she officially takes up summer residence at the castle (Andrew Milligan/PA) 

She smiled as she was greeted by regimental mascot Cpl Cruachan IV, alongside Pony Major Mark Wilkinson, before touching the Shetland pony’s nose.

Shetland pony mascots have been part of the Army in Scotland’s history for almost 90 years, since Princess Louise presented Cruachan I to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in 1929.

Every year the Queen spends the summer at Balmoral, where she is joined by other members of the royal family.

A picture taken of her on the estate with the Duke of Edinburgh during their silver wedding anniversary year in 1972 was shared by the royal family’s official Twitter account.