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The Palace today

The Queen at a garden party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Queen at a garden party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse ©

During 'Holyrood Week' (or 'Royal Week' as it's known in Scotland), The Queen lives at the Palace of Holyroodhouse while attending meetings and visiting Scottish regions. Her Majesty's stay in Edinburgh 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.

Presentation of the Keys

At the start of The Queen’s visit, the Palace forecourt is transformed into a 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 the city’s loyalty. Her Majesty then hands back the key for safekeeping.

Garden Party

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

The Duke of Rothsay

The Duke of Rothsay, pictured with his son, The Duke of Cambridge. ©

The Duke of Rothesay

The Prince of Wales, as heir to the throne, took on the traditional titles of the Scottish peerage, of Duke of Rothesay; Earl of Carrick; Baron Renfrew; Lord of the Isles; and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. While in Scotland he is known as The Duke of Rothesay. He also stays at Holyroodhouse for one week a year, carrying out official duties. 

Managing the Palace

The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the Sovereign in Scotland. Royal Collection Trust, a department of the Royal Household which receives no public funding, is responsible for opening the Palace to the public on behalf of The Queen. All costs related to the opening of the Palace are met by us through income generated from visitors to the Palace and other official royal residences, as well as associated retail activities.

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for conserving and maintaining the built fabric of the Palace and Gardens on behalf of the Scottish Government, which provides funding for this purpose. Staffing costs met by Historic Environment Scotland include professional and technical staff whose work supports conservation and maintenance of the Palace, plus a contribution to the costs of the security and porter teams.