Visiting Scotland is something the Royal family regularly do for many reasons, not only leisure breaks to Palace of Holyrood House or Balmoral Castle but on official royal duties too. Throughout the years there have been many memorable visits by the Royal Family to Scotland and each one has been enjoyed and celebrated in its time. Here we’re looking at three key Royal visits to Scotland since the early 19th century.
King George VI
In 1822 King George V visited Scotland and it was the first visit of a reigning monarch to the country for the first time since 1650. His visit has been celebrated in an exhibition at the Fine Art City Art Centre in Edinburgh, although the exhibition is currently archived.
The visit was orchestrated by Sir Walter Scott and attracted a huge amount of attention. The King landed at Leith and followed the processional route to Holyrood, the streets lined by representatives of the trade societies of each burgh. A Highland element to the visit was noted with members of different Clans dressed in full Highland dress filling the streets of the city. This was the first time in centuries that Scots were urged to wear their true family tartans to meet the King.
Queen Victoria’s first visit to Scotland is well documented and took place in 1842. She rode upon the royal yacht to Leith and proceeded from there into Edinburgh. The city was excited to receive her and thousands were awaiting her arrival. During her stay she opened the Glasgow to Edinburgh rail line. During her visit she stayed at various castles as the guest of several Scottish nobles and this includes Taymouth Castle in Perthshire and Hawthornden Castle in Midlothian.
Queen Victoria’s visit to Scotland also meant that restoration projects began at her request. Rosslyn Chapel in Edinburgh for example was a ruin when she visited and fully restored on her say so. It’s now hugely regularly visited by tourists because it featured in the Da Vinci Code novels by Dan Brown.
Queen Elizabeth II – Diamond Jubilee
One of the most famous and more recent visits was the current Queen and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh’s visit during Holyrood Week in 2012. Celebrating her Diamond Jubilee Queen Elizabeth took part in the usual traditional Holyrood Week ceremonies such as the Ceremony of the Keys and the Garden Party at the Palace of Holyrood House.
She spent the period between 2nd and 6th July travelling around Scotland including a trip to Perth and also attended a thistle service and lunch as a special guest of the Knights of the Thistle.
Modern Royal visits to Scotland have a focus on the role of Scotland in the UK and also the importance of Scottish heritage and tradition. The modern age of Royal visits began with George V taking that first step in the early 19th century and now Royal visits are much more common but always enjoyed.
Throughout 2014 the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family have a number of scheduled visits to Scotland so it’s worth checking the Royal Events and Ceremonies website for more information.
Ayesha Longley works for the Royal Scots Club, which offers hotel accomodation, wedding and conference venue in Edinburgh’s city centre. You can read more about the Royal Scots Club on www.royalscotsclub.com