Queen travels to Scotland for traditional week of events

It is a scene has has become far from guaranteed in recent months as the Queen has increasingly been forced to forego public engagements for ‘virtual’ meetings due to her ongoing mobility issues.

But the 96-year-old monarch has guaranteed that a long-held tradition was maintained in the grounds of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, as part of her annual trip to Scotland.

The monarch was a sight for sore eyes at the historic Ceremony of the Keys – the traditional opener to Holyrood week for the royals.

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Dressed in a powder blue silk wool coat and dress by Stewart Parvin, paired with a hat by Rachel Trevor-Morgan, the Queen was symbolically offered the keys to the city by Edinburgh Lord Provost Robert Aldridge.

The tradition dictates the monarch returns them, entrusting their safekeeping to the city’s elected officials.

The Queen was joined by her youngest son, Edward, and his wife, Sophie, known as the Earl and Countess of Forfar while they are in Scotland.

The Guard of Honour was provided by the Balaklava Company, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, which was inspected by Edward on the forecourt of the palace during the ceremony.

Queen Elizabeth II during the traditional Ceremony of the Keys at Holyroodhouse. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Music was provided by the pipes and drums of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

On Tuesday, the Queen will attend an armed forces ceremony in the gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse as part of a presentation of the key for Edinburgh Castle.

The parade, which will see all three services represented, will be an opportunity to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in Scotland.

It will also pay tribute to her role as head of the UK armed forces.

Queen Elizabeth II inspects the keys presented by Lord Provost Robert Aldridge (left) during the Ceremony of the Keys on the forecourt of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, accompanied by the Earl and Countess of Wessex. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

The governor of Edinburgh Castle, assisted by three service cadets, is due to address the Queen with: “We, the serving members of your majesty’s armed forces, bound by our oath to you, your heirs and successors, offer for your gracious acceptance the key to your majesty’s royal castle of Edinburgh.”

The Queen will respond: “I return this key to the safekeeping of my governor of Edinburgh Castle, in gratitude for the symbolic act of loyalty of our armed forces, confident of your faithful allegiance to your oath.”

Her Scotland trip for Holyrood week comes after the recent Platinum Jubilee celebrations for the Queen, in which she pledged to continue to serve the country “to the best of my ability supported by my family”.

Charlesand the Princess Royal will all take part in a series of public engagements in Scotland over coming days.

The Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Louis, the Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the Trooping the Colour ceremony at Horse Guards Parade, central London, as the Queen celebrates her official birthday, on day one of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Picture date: Thursday June 2, 2022.

However, Andrew, known as the Earl of Inverness in Scotland, no longer carries out public duties and will not be involved.

It comes as Charles followed in the footsteps of his father by becoming patron of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

The Duke of Edinburgh served as patron of the College for 66 years, having first become patron in 1954.

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh said it was a “privilege” to welcome Charles, who is known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, as its new patron.


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