Feature

Apr 2011

Scotland’s royal connections

From palaces and castles to ships and universities, Scotland's ties with the royals go back hundreds of years.

Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Palace of Holyroodhouse, commonly known as Holyrood Palace, in Edinburgh is the Queen’s official residence in Scotland. The palace is situated at the end of the famous Royal Mile, which extends up to Edinburgh Castle. Mary, Queen of Scots lived here between 1561 and 1567, and successive kings and queens have made this their premier residence in Scotland.

The Queen has an official Holyrood Week, which runs from the end of June to the beginning of July. During this week the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh entertain guests at an annual garden party, a tradition that dates back to King George V and Queen Mary. The ceremony is attended by guests from all walks of Scottish life.

The Palace is open to visitors, and an exhibition of Royal photography is on display until June.

Visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse

Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle, in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, has been the Scottish home of the Royal Family since it was purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1848. Much loved by Queen Victoria, she Balmoral in her journals as 'my dear paradise in the Highlands'.

The Royal Family are usually in residence between September and the beginning of October, where the grounds are closed to the public.

Many royals have spent part of their honey moon at Balmoral, including The Queen and Prince Phillip, Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, Prince Edward and Sophie the Countess of Wessex, and Prince Charles and Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall.

In 1992 Princess Anne married Timothy Laurence in Crathie Kirk, which lies close to Balmoral. The Kirk is best known for its regular attendance by the Royal Family who worship here during their stays at the castle.

Visit Balmoral Castle

Glamis Castle

Glamis Castle, in Angus, has been the family home of the Earls of Strathmore for over 600 years. Glamis was the childhood home of the Queen Mother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, whose parents were Lord and Lady Glamis. At the age of four, Elizabeth’s grandfather, who was the current Earl, passed away and her father inherited the Earldom and with it Glamis Castle. The family then divided their time between Glamis Castle and two other royal residences.

Glamis has many stories and legends attached to it and is thought to be one of the most haunted castles in Britain.

Visit Glamis Castle

The Royal Yacht Britannia

The Royal Yacht Britannia is one of the world’s most famous ships. It was launched at John Brown’s shipyard in Clydebank in 1953 and served the Queen for 44 years. The Britannia carried out 968 voyages for the Queen and the Royal Family, until it was taken out of service in 1994.

The Royal Yacht Britannia can now be found in Leith, Edinburgh, where visitors can discover what life was like on board for the Royal Family and the crew.

Visit The Royal Yacht Britannia

St Andrews

The town of St Andrews in Fife lays claim to being the birth town of the love that blossomed between Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Both studied at Scotland’s oldest university, which is where they met in 2001. After the announcement of the royal engagement, St Andrews University laid claim to the title of Britain’s top match-making university, where one in ten of their students meets their future partner.

Visit St Andrews

Strathearn

Prince William and Kate Middleton are to take the titles Earl and Countess of Strathearn, following their marriage.

The Perthshire region of Strathearn, which means Valley of the River Earn, stretches from the central lowlands to the Highlands.

The region has had royal connections since Robert Stewart, High Steward of Scotland, was created Earl of Strathearn in 1357.

The picturesque area, which once belonged to Queen Victoria's father, includes the towns of Crieff, Auchterarder and Comrie.

Visit Strathearn

Did you know?

  • Catherine Middleton's wedding dress was designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. McQueen, whose father was Scottish, frequently used tartan in his work and took inspiration from Scottish history.
  • The Scottish State Coach was used to transport the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh on royal wedding day. The carriage is emblazoned with the Order of the Thistle and has a model of the Crown of Scotland on the roof.
  • Scotland will have its own royal wedding on July 30 when Zara Phillips, daughter of Princess Anne, will marry rugby player Mike Tindall, at the Canongate Kirk, Edinburgh.
  • The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Andrew and Edward all attended Gordonstoun, a school in Moray, Scotland. Princess Anne followed family tradition and sent both her children, Zara and Peter to Gordonstoun.
  • In 2004 Prince William represented the Scottish national universities water polo team in the annual Celtic Nations tournament.
  • Princess Anne is patron of the Scottish Rugby Union.
  • Along with its royal connections, Glamis castle was also the legendary setting of Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’.
  • The late Princess Margaret, sister of Elizabeth II, was born in Glamis Castle, the first royal baby born in Scotland since 1600.

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