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King Charles attends Ceremony of the Keys in Edinburgh at start of Holyrood Week | UK News

King Charles attends Ceremony of the Keys in Edinburgh at start of Holyrood Week | UK News

Each year, the monarch traditionally spends a week – known as Holyrood Week or Royal Week in Scotland – at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. This year it is shorter than in previous years due to the general election.


Tuesday, 2 July 2024 14:59, United Kingdom

The King began his official stay in Scotland by receiving the keys to the city of Edinburgh, which is celebrating its 900th anniversary.

The monarch took part in the Ceremony of the Keys in the garden of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, his official residence in the Scottish capital.

He was greeted by the Lord Provost, Alderman Robert Aldridge, after arriving by helicopter with the Queen.

Mr. Aldridge presented the keys on a red velvet cushion, which the King symbolically touched.

The councilor said: “We, the rector and the members of the City Council of Edinburgh Council, welcome Your Majesty to the capital of your ancient and hereditary kingdom of Scotland, and offer for your gracious acceptance the keys of Your Majesty’s good city, Edinburgh.”

King replied with the traditional reply: “I return these keys fully convinced that they cannot be placed in better hands than those of the Lord Provost and Councillors of my good city of Edinburgh.”

Before the ceremony, the palace garden was transformed into a parade ground, where the king met with senior military and uniformed officials, including police. Scotland Chief Constable Jo Farrell, before receiving a royal salute and inspecting a guard of honour of soldiers from the Balaklava Company, 5th Scots.

Also aligned was the Royal Company of Archers, which serves as the sovereign’s ceremonial bodyguard in Scotland — a role first created in 1822 for King George VI.

The Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Bagpipes and Drums of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland were on parade for the occasion.

The King walked past the guard of honor, cast his eyes over the soldiers, and stopped to speak to some of them. He also spoke to the members of the military bands.

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An investiture ceremony also took place on Tuesday, where author Sir Alexander McCall Smith was knighted.

The writer and creator of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series was honored for services to literature, academia and charity.

Speaking after the ceremony, the 75-year-old author said: “It’s a wonderful thing, I’m very grateful, it’s a really good thing that’s happened, so I’m very pleased, but of course behind that there are all sorts of other people who made it happen, so I think of them.”

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The King and Queen will conclude their trip to Scotland with a celebration at Edinburgh Castle to mark the city’s 900th anniversary.

Each year, the monarch traditionally spends a week at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, known as Holyrood Week or Royal Week in Scotland.

This year’s event is shorter than in previous years because the general election has caused the Royal Family to postpone any engagements “that could divert attention or distract from the election campaign”.

The king will also be needed for formal processes after the election, such as appointing a government – with the leader of the party that wins a general election usually summoned to Buckingham Palace after the result.