Not surprisingly, The Queen does not enter the church by the main door. The Queen believes strongly that people should come to church to meet God, not to see her! The Queen and members of The Royal Family enter the church through a side door and are invisible to most of their fellow-worshippers during Divine Service.
On one occasion during her stay at Balmoral Castle there is a Holy Communion Service, but as it is the custom in the Church of Scotland for the elements to be brought to the communicants at their seats, there is no possibility of The Queen being seen receiving the Blessed Sacrament.
Crathie has been a place of Christian worship since the 9th century when a church was founded on the banks of the River Dee by Saint Manire (Bishop of Aberdeenshire and Banff and a follower of Saint Columba, the pioneer of Christianity in Scotland). It is traditionally held that Manire baptised Pictish converts in a pool of the Dee east of the modern village of Crathie. A single standing stone at Rinabaich is all that remains of Manire's church (where Manire himself is reputedly buried).
Subsequent places of worship were situated further west, near the location of present day Crathie village. The ruins of a 13th century church, dedicated to Saint Manire, stand on the riverbank south of the current structure.
A later church was built at the current site in 1804. Queen Victoria worshipped there from 1848, and every British monarch since has worshipped at Crathie Kirk. Victoria laid the foundation stone for a new, much larger, church in 1893. Queen Victoria's decision to worship at the Crathie Kirk initially caused a scandal, particularly when it was discovered that she had received Communion there, because she was head of the Church of England. Victoria asserted that as Queen of Scotland, she was also entitled to worship in a Scottish church, and further, Crathie is the closest church to Balmoral Castle.
The British Royal Family attended the Sunday Service at this Church right after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales on the morning of 31 August 1997. It caused great public disbelief that the late Princess was not mentioned at the Service. However, it is not the custom in the Church of Scotland to pray for the dead.