THOUSANDS of guests turned out in the pouring rain for the Queen’s garden party in Edinburgh yesterday, marking the first public event in the monarch’s week-long tour of Scotland.
Armed forces veterans, charity volunteers and business owners were among 8,000 people attending the annual event at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
The Queen, accompanied by the Earl of Wessex, chatted to guests while she walked around the grounds of the palace. The Duke of Edinburgh was notably absent as he recovers from surgery.
First to meet the monarch was Irene Hogg, from Loanhead, Midlothian, who was named in the Birthday Honours List last month for her services to children and families.
Mrs Hogg, 58, who will be made an MBE, is the general manager of the Loanhead After School Club.
She said: “The Queen is just wonderful. She made me feel very relaxed. I had been quite nervous thinking I had to speak to the Queen, but it was just a nice normal conversation.”
Veteran soldier Adam McKenzie, 84, from Livingston, attended with his daughter Wendy, 55, and joked that he was getting used to meeting the monarch.
Having spent 34 years in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, he has spoken to the Queen on a number of occasions.
“We’ve met four or five times now. I’d say we’re nearly old friends,” he told The Scotsman.
The Queen was wearing a Stewart Parvin double-breasted silk tweed coat in mint green. She also wore a chiffon dress of green, grey and ivory, and a diamond thistle brooch. Her hat, also mint green, was by Rachel Trevor-Morgan.
Earlier, the monarch formally honoured more than 70 people from all walks of life.
Scott Brash, the Olympic showjumper from Peebles, was made an OBE for services to equestrianism during a morning ceremony at the palace.
The 27-year-old was the youngest member of the British gold medal-winning showjumping team at the London Games last summer.
“It means a lot. To be recognised in what you love doing is a fantastic thing,” he said following his meeting with the Queen.
RAF Sergeant Roy Geddes, 43, was awarded the Military Cross. He was decorated for his role defending Camp Bastion against an attack by armed insurgents.
Sgt Geddes, who is based at RAF Lossiemouth,said: “I can’t really put into words how I feel right now. It’s such an honour.”
National Galleries of Scotland director-general John Leighton received a knighthood; journalist Magnus Linklater, a former editor of The Scotsman, was made a CBE; while Northern Constabulary Chief Superintendent David O’Connor collected the Queen’s Police Medal.