Ceremony of the Keys Edinburgh: What is the Ceremony of the Keys as King Charles III and Queen Consort attend traditional ceremony

King Charles III and the Queen Consort will attend a Ceremony of the Keys and the King will inspect the guard of honour.

The annual Ceremony of the Keys involves the monarch being the keys of the city and welcomed to ‘’your ancient and hereditary kingdom of Scotland’’ by Edinburgh Lord Provost Robert Aldridge.

The monarch will be offered the keys, and tradition dictates that the King then returns them, entrusting their safekeeping to Edinburgh’s elected officials.

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King Charles III during a reception with Realm High Commissioners and their spouses in the Bow Room at Buckingham Palace, London. Picture date: Sunday September 11, 2022.
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When returning the keys, His Majesty will say: “I return these keys, being perfectly convinced that they cannot be placed in better hands than those of the Lord Provost and Councillors of my good City of Edinburgh.”

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As part of the ceremony, King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort will inspect a guard of honour at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

At the start of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, there is also a ceremony of the keys when the Lord High Commissioner, as the Monarch's representative, receives the keys from the Lord Provost.

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While the Ceremony of the Keys takes place every year, traditionally marking the monarch’s stay in Scotland, such a ceremony takes place every night at the Tower of London between the Chief Yeoman Warder and military escorts.

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Following the ceremony, Charles will lead the royal family in procession as the Queen’s coffin is taken from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to nearby St Giles’ Cathedral for a service of thanksgiving.

The King will then hold audiences with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Alison Johnstone, the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament.