A direct descendant of legendary Scottish monarch Robert the Bruce has been sworn in as the new “king” of Edinburgh Castle.
Major General Alastair Bruce of Crionaich, who can trace his family tree back to the 14th century leader, has been appointed as the latest governor at the world-famous landmark.
A life-long military man, Bruce is perhaps better known for his work as Sky News’ royal, religious and national events commentator, a role that has witnessed him covering grandstand events, such as the Pope’s visit in 2011 and interviews with the Queen.
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Describing his latest appointment as chief stalwart of Edinburgh Castle, Bruce said it was an “absolute honour” to be awarded the post.
He commented: “Being a descendant of Robert the Bruce, and as a Scot you can imagine, there is a lot of weight that comes with carrying the Bruce title. However, walking past the Robert the Bruce and William Wallace statues, gives me an immense feeling, you can imagine [Bruce beats his hand purposefully off of the corner of the seat as he speaks, as if to resemble his heart pounding with pride and excitement] of what this fortress means to the people of Scotland.”
Bruce, who celebrates his 59th birthday today, was born in Winchester and brought up in Hampshire in south-east England. However, he spent much of his childhood in the north of the Scottish Highlands, where his parents owned the Sallachy Estate near the village of Lairg. In 1984, Bruce was recognised in the name of Bruce of Crionaich by Lord Lyon King of Arms.
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In the past, Bruce has admitted that he did not consider himself to be particularly intelligent – modesty from a man who advised on Oscar winning films like the Kings Speech, and so pursued a career through the military, spending time at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst during his formative years.
He joined the army in 1979, and in 1980, earned the rank of Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion of the Scots Guards. A regular officer for four years, he also saw active service in the Falklands War.
He believes that Edinburgh Castle is an exceptional symbol of the relationship between the people of Scotland and their military.
He added: “We are here to serve the people and to represent the armed forces as an institution in the best possible way.
“Edinburgh Castle as a fortress is the perfect symbol with which to portray our responsibility to protect the people of Scotland.”
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Bruce’s dedication to serving the people of Scotland is best conveyed through the actions that followed his return home from the Falkland war. During the conflict, and just a day before the Argentine surrender, his comrade, colleague and friend, 19-year-old guardsman James Reynolds, from the village of Bridge of Weir in Renfrewshire, died after being struck by mortar fire whilst bringing back a wounded comrade, who subsequently survived. Bruce had a cairn erected in his honour at Sallachy in Sutherland.
While his time with the Territorial Army will come to an end due to imposed age limits next year, Bruce intends to continue serving his country alongside his newly-acquired role.