King Charles III Scotland visit: Rain hailed as ‘next year’s whisky’ as 6,000 attend Edinburgh royal garden party
Heavy rain lashed down in the gardens yesterday evening as 6,000 guests gathered to meet the King and Queen as well as the Princess Royal.
Camilla told one attendee she was “remarkably dry” as party-goers huddled under umbrellas to keep out of the rain.
Among those speaking to the King was Sandy McPherson, who attended with his wife Catherine and granddaughter Sarah.
Mrs McPherson said: “Well, it’s good for the ground.”
Mr McPherson added: “It’s not rain, it’s next year’s whisky.”
He received an award from the Lord Provost of Edinburgh for good citizenship and said the King had commented on his tartan, which was a hunting McPherson tartan.
He said: “It’s good for hunting or being hunted.”
First Minister Humza Yousaf was also at the garden party, sporting a Palace of Holyroodhouse umbrella to fend off the rain.
Others in attendance included volunteers from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), who said they were used to the weather “365 days a year”.
Douglas Munro, a volunteer based at North Kessock in Inverness, said the King asked them about their ranks and was “very knowledgeable” about their work.
He joked: “Unfortunately we didn’t bring our boat with us today, which would have been useful for a day like this.”
His colleague Douglas Grant said: “We’re used to this kind of weather – 365 days a year we are on service and we are used to this kind of weather.”
The annual garden party was held as part of Royal Week in Scotland where the royal family hosts guests who have made a contribution to their communities.
The King will Wednesday receive the Scottish crown jewels in a service of thanksgiving at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.
The service will feature centuries-old aspects of Scottish royal tradition along with new additions such as music written specially for the occasion.
Before the service there will be a Royal Procession and a People’s Procession along the Royal Mile involving around 100 people.
The Stone of Destiny is also expected to play a part in today’s ceremony and there will also be a fly-past by the Red Arrows following the event.
Earlier yesterday, the Queen joked she “shared a birthday” with the National Health Service as she celebrated the institution’s 75th milestone with the King.
Charles and Camilla toured the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh meeting dozens of medical staff, patients and the public to mark the anniversary.
The NHS – the world’s best-known health system – came into being on July 5, 1948.
It was launched by then health secretary Aneurin Bevan at Park Hospital in Manchester – today known as Trafford General Hospital.
When the Queen chatted to a group of elderly patients, she commented about the NHS’s anniversary: “I’m 75, I’m the same age as the NHS – we share a birthday.”
Nearby the King also spoke to some of the Infirmary’s oldest patients and quipped about his age – 74.
He said: “You get to the age I am, things don’t work as well as they used to,” before joining his wife to cut an NHS birthday cake.
The King and his wife were given a cradle-to-the-grave tour of the hospital, meeting maternity staff from midwives to obstetricians, before they chatted to those caring for patients coming towards the end of their lives.
In the hospital’s reception, a huge crowd was waiting to see the King and Queen after word got around they were visiting.
Camilla stopped to talk to doctors Zack Hassan, 28, and Robert Cronshaw, 29.
Dr Hassan, who when not working on the wards hosts the Healthy Discussions podcast, said: “She said to us ‘doctors are looking younger every year’ and that’s something I hear from my patients.”
The King and Queen separately unveiled a plaque at Holyrood Palace, marking the Jubilee Gates which were installed last year as a gift to the late Queen Elizabeth II.
The royal couple met members of the High Constables of Holyroodhouse, a ceremonial bodyguard organisation, who commissioned the gates to mark the late Queen’s platinum jubilee.
It took place on the second day of the couple’s first post-coronation visit to Scotland.
The King and Queen met nine representatives from the High Constables, thanking them for their work. Charles was also presented with a book of historic photographs, which he said he would look at “immediately”.
Roderick Urquhart, the organisation’s moderator, said they were “thrilled” with the gates, which will provide easier access to the area around Holyrood Abbey.
Mr Urquhart said: “We wanted to gift the late Queen something memorable for her platinum jubilee. And we came across this excellent idea because we knew there was a wish for bigger, newer gates. And it’s just been a perfect answer.
“With the approval of the Lord Lyon, the crests of the various different countries were put at the top.”
The iron gates were created by Fife blacksmith Mihai Cocris and they contain heraldic symbols from the four nations of the UK, as well as the High Constables’ symbol of a crowned stag.
The smith said it was “amazing” to see the King and Queen’s reaction to the gates, saying he wanted them to symbolise bringing “everybody together”.
Previously, a railing stretched across the site where the Jubilee Gates now sit.
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