Her Majesty The Queen has spoken of her “great affection for Scotland” as she marked Holyrood’s anniversary – which marked two decades on from the Scottish parliament taking on its legal powers.
The Queen, who was accompanied by Prince Charles, who is known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, spoke to each of Holyrood’s party leaders as well as addressing them in the debating chamber.
She said: “Twenty years on, this chamber continues to be at the centre of Scottish public life, as an important forum to engage and unite diverse communities and also a home for passionate debate and discussion.
“Through new initiatives, you continue to strive to be responsive and accountable to the people you serve, and to engage and involve those who might not otherwise participate in political debate.”
She added that it was her “sincere hope” that MSPs (Members of the Scottish Parliament) would “work tirelessly to improve people’s lives and strengthen the bonds of friendship and partnership both at home and abroad”.
In response, Ms Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party, said the parliament might only be 20-years-old, but “has long come of age”. There had been times in the beginning when “the sense of challenge possibly outweighed the sense of optimism”, and that hopes that were expressed in 1999 “to a great extent have been vindicated”.
Also joining in the event where some people who were born on the exact date. Ahead of The Queen’s arrival, the Crown of Scotland was brought from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood, carried by the Duke of Hamilton.
After the ceremony, The Queen and the Duke of Rothesay attended a reception in the main hall, and they signed the visitor book.