The State Apartments

A Palace warden shows visitors the Royal Apartments.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse is The Queen’s official residence in Scotland. It stands at the end of Edinburgh's Royal Mile against the spectacular backdrop of Arthur’s Seat and is closely associated with Scotland’s rich history.

The State Apartments reflect the changing tastes of successive monarchs, and are renowned for their fine plasterwork ceilings and unrivalled collection of Brussels tapestries. They are furnished with numerous fine paintings and other works of art, many of which have long associations with Holyroodhouse. Today the State Apartments are used by The Queen and other members of the Royal Family for official ceremonies and entertaining, most notably during Holyrood Week.

The Throne Room is where the luncheon is held for the Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Thistle, on the occasion of the installation of a new Knight. In the Morning Drawing Room The Queen gives private audiences, for example with the First Minister of Scotland, the Lord High Commissioner or other visiting dignitaries. Scottish residents who are awarded an honour in either the New Year’s Honours List or The Queen's Birthday Honours List receive their award at an Investiture ceremony in the Great Gallery.

One of the most famous rooms in the Palace, the Great Gallery is hung with Jacob de Wet's portraits of the real and legendary kings of Scotland. It is the largest room in the Palace, connecting the King’s Suite on the east side with the historic apartments in James V’s Tower to the west.

Included on the tour of the Palace is a display about the Order of the Thistle, the highest honour in Scotland.  The Order honours Scottish men and women who have held public office or who have contributed in a particular way to national life. Shown alongside historic insignia is an example of the mantle worn at the Thistle Ceremony at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, which The Queen attends during her summer visit to the Palace.

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