It would probably surprise you to hear that one of the star attractions in the tour of the Castle of Mey is a fridge in one of the kitchens. What will astonish you more is the fact that the refrigerator in question was purchased by Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother in 1954 from the nearby town of Wick. The fridge passed its portable appliance test recently and so is still working away some sixty-three years after it was installed. Despite having an estimated £70 million fortune, the Queen Mother did not replace it with a more modern one, what appears to have been a very sensible decision.
The Castle of Mey is the most northerly castle on the British mainland, and on a fine day, you can see the Orkneys. It dates from the middle of the sixteenth century, though was extensively modernised between the seventeenth and early nineteenth century. Sadly, when the Queen Mother was mourning the loss of her husband, King George VI in 1952, she fell in love with its charm and isolation. On hearing it was threatened, she bought the castle, the only one she ever owned and set about restoring it and removing some of the renovations that took place, together with work on the gardens.
The fridge was not the only item the Queen Mother was frugal with; apparently, the Queen Mother also did not buy a television set for the castle, preferring to rent a television and video recorder during her stays there. The fridge is included in the guided tour of the Castle of Mey and is probably one of the oldest working refrigerators in the country and who knows possibly the world.
The Castle of Mey is now owned by a trust which was set up by the Queen Mother in 1996, and the castle is open to visitors between 1st May and 30th September, except when the Duke & Duchess of Rothesay (as Prince Charles and Camilla are referred to in Scotland) take their annual holiday up there in late July /early August.