The Queen, joined by the Duke of Edinburgh, will begin her traditional week of engagements in Scotland on Monday as she takes up residence at the Palace of Holyroodhouse for Holyrood week.
Among Her Majesty’s engagements are the service at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh for the Order of the Thistle, which is expected to be attended by members of the Royal Family including the Earl of Strathearn (as Prince William is known in Scotland). The Thistle is Scotland’s highest order of chivalry and is similar to the Order of the Garter, the service for which was held earlier this month. The service, held once every two years, will be attended by the Royal Family on 3rd July.
Holyrood week is organised as a way for The Queen to recognise Scottish life and pay tribute to Scottish culture and history in a more personal way than inviting Scottish guests south of the border.
Her week will begin on the Monday with the traditional Ceremony of the Keys where Her Majesty will be given the keys to her ‘ancient and hereditary kingdom of Scotland’ by the City Chamberlain.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse, The Queen’s official residence in Scotland, lies at one end of what’s known as the royal mile. At the other end lies Edinburgh castle – no longer occupied – but still a popular tourist attraction and home to the annual Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Her Majesty takes up residence at the Palace only for one week in the year and also when she stays in Scotland overnight when performing other engagements throughout the year.
On Tuesday, The Queen will host the fourth and final ordinary garden party of the year at Holyrood Palace where 8,000 noteworthy Scots will be invited to join The Queen and other members of the Royal Family. The garden party takes a similar format to the other three in the year hosted at Buckingham Palace though in Scotland, The Queen’s personal bodyguard – instead of being the Yeoman of the Guard – is the Royal Company of Archers who stand on guard during the garden party.
Prince Philip will accompany The Queen during the engagements in Scotland and will undertake some engagements independently during the week including a visit to Duke of Edinburgh House, home of the City of Edinburgh Universities Officers’ Training Corps – of which the Duke if colonel – and also the unveiling of a stained glass window at The New Club in Edinburgh.
Wednesday will see The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh pay a visit to the Emirates Arena and the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome in Glagow, before being joined by Prince Charles and Camilla (in Scotland, the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay) for a visit to Dumfries House, the estate Prince Charles helped to save for the nation in 2007 when he led a consortium to buy the estate.
After the Thistle service on Thursday, The Queen will attend a service of Commemoration at the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle along with the Duke of Edinburgh.
The Friday will see The Queen attend the much-anticipated launch of HMS Queen Elizabeth, one of two new aircraft carriers in production for the Royal Navy, at Rosyth Dockyard where Her Majesty will formally name the new ship. Prior to this, The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will visit the Forth Road Bridge in West Lothian to mark its 50th anniversary.
During the week in Scotland, Her Majesty will also host an investiture where she’ll hand out honours to Scottish recipients in the Great Gallery at Holyrood.
The Queen will return to London on Friday and take up residence again at Windsor Castle for the weekend. She’ll return to Scotland for her traditional summer break in August when she’ll take up residence at her private highland retreat, Balmoral Castle for the remainder of the summer.