About the Palace of Holyroodhouse

Ceremony of the Keys, Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Palace today

The Queen is in residence at the Palace of Holyroodhouse during Holyrood week, which usually takes place from the end of June to the beginning of July. Then the Scottish variant of the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom is flown, and the Royal Company of Archers forms Her Majesty's ceremonial bodyguard.

At the start of The Queen’s visit, the Palace forecourt is transformed into a crowded and colourful parade ground, where 700 guests stand to watch the enactment of an ancient ceremony, the Presentation of the Keys of the City of Edinburgh. On her arrival in the forecourt, The Queen is presented with a red-velvet cushion, on which rests the great key of the city. It is handed to The Queen by the Lord Provost, who welcomes Her Majesty formally and pledges her the city’s loyalty. Her Majesty then hands back the key for safekeeping.

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh entertain around 8,000 guests from all walks of Scottish life during Holyrood week. Her Majesty holds Investitures in the Great Gallery, audiences in the Morning Drawing Room and a Garden Party. The Queen also carries out a wide range of official engagements elsewhere in Scotland.

The Queen received His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI at Holyroodhouse during The Pope’s official visit to the UK in September 2010. The gift presented by His Holiness to Her Majesty, a facsimile of the Lorsch Gospels, is on display at the Palace.

Prince Charles resides at Holyroodhouse for one week a year, carrying out official duties as The Duke of Rothesay.

The Royal Family stayed at Holyroodhouse at the time of the wedding of Zara Phillips, The Queen’s granddaughter, to Mike Tindall in Canongate Kirk on 30 July 2011.

 

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