State coach to be the mane attraction at Holyrood Palace

A lavish carriage used by the Royal Family for ceremonial occasions will go on display in Edinburgh later this month.

The Scottish State Coach in front of St Giles Cathedral. Picture: PA
The Scottish State Coach in front of St Giles Cathedral. Picture: PA

The Scottish State Coach will be displayed on the forecourt of the Palace of Holyroodhouse to mark The Queen’s 90th birthday year.

Built for the Duke of Cambridge in 1830 and used for the coronation of his brother, William IV, the horse-drawn coach was remodelled for Scotland at the request of Her Majesty.

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The coach – one of several the highlights of a visit to the palace this summer – will go on display from 30 July until 28 August.

Originally known as the Cambridge Coach, it was remodelled in 1968–9 on Her Majesty’s instruction to create a coach specifically for Scotland.

The emblems of the Order of the Thistle, the highest order of chivalry in Scotland, and the Scottish version of the Royal Arms were painted on the sides, and a model of the Crown of Scotland added to the roof.

The coach is normally housed at the Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace, home to the royal collection of historic coaches and carriages.

The Queen first used the Scottish State Coach on 22 May 1969, when she opened the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh.

The coach conveyed Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, The Prince of Wales and The Duke of York in the Silver Jubilee Procession in 1977.

It also bore the Queen to an Order of Thistle Service in Edinburgh in 1994, and the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh back to Buckingham Palace after the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011.

Roddy Martine, from Edinburgh, who has written two books about the monarchy, said: “We see all the pomp and circumstance surrounding state visits in London yet the Scottish State Coach reminds us that we can hold our own just as well at such events north of the Border.

“This is Scotland’s very own carriage of state, sleek and impressive, cherished thought the years and symbolic of our colourful history though not ideally suited to the cobbled streets of the Old Town.”

Visitors can also enjoy an exhibition called ‘Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe’, 
the largest display of Her Majesty’s dress ever shown in Scotland.

Meanwhile, ‘Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden’ at The Queen’s Gallery will explore the many ways in which the garden has been celebrated in art through more than 100 objects in the Royal Collection.