A Norfolk family has recalled how a walking holiday led to a surprise meeting with the Queen.

Margaret Sadd said she was left “totally tongue tied” after the monarch unexpectedly stopped for a chat as she, her husband John and their sons, Phillip and Tom, were walking in Scotland.

Having already walked to the top of Ben Nevis during their holiday in August 2006, the family, from Taverham, had planned a walk around Loch Muick on the Balmoral Estate.

Norwich Evening News: The Queen's private Scottish castle BalmoralThe Queen's private Scottish castle Balmoral (Image: PA)

“We were about 20 mins into our walk when we noticed two black Range Rovers coming towards us,” recalled Mrs Sadd.

“They stopped for a brief moment and then carried on towards us. We stood either side of the track and as the first vehicle approached we realised the Queen was driving.

“We couldn't believe our luck as she drove past. The second vehicle appeared to have security personnel.”

Norwich Evening News: John Sadd with sons Tom and Phillip during their walk on the Balmoral Estyate when they met the QueenJohn Sadd with sons Tom and Phillip during their walk on the Balmoral Estyate when they met the Queen (Image: Margaret Sadd)

Amazed, the family continued walking for 10 minutes only for the vehicle with the Queen at the wheel to return.

“She stopped directly opposite us and asked if we were enjoying our holiday. We chatted for five to 10 minutes,” said Mrs Sadd.

“She asked how far we were going and I said we planned to walk around the Loch and she was surprised because it was a long way. I said that it was a lovely day for walking and it was so beautiful.

“I showed her the map that I had downloaded from a walking website. I very cheekily asked her if I could take a picture and to my utter surprise she said yes. I couldn't believe my luck and knew that I only had one chance.

Norwich Evening News: Loch Muick on the Balmoral EstateLoch Muick on the Balmoral Estate (Image: PA)

“I said that no-one would ever believe my story and she and the lady and man accompanying her laughed.”

The regal encounter occurred with the couple’s son, Phillip, bare chested in his hiking gear having left his shirt in the car due to the glorious sunny weather.

Mrs Sadd added: “Had I known we were going to have a royal audience I’d have given more thought to what I was wearing too.”