This year I’m having to work extra hard to make up for the need to take 3 months off: 6 weeks to recover from each hip replacement, with the second looming at the end of September. No time for a full holiday this year, but a few busy days sight-seeing in Edinburgh provided a welcome change of perpective.
The first day kicked off with a visit to Holyrood Palace, the queen’s official residence, positioned at the opposite end of the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle. This was where Mary, Queen of Scots, resided, and married both of her husbands. The section on the left of the photo is the original part of the building, built in the early 16th century, and houses Mary’s apartments.
The palace was built alongside the 12th century Augustinian abbey that provided the name, which derives from a legendary vision of the cross witnessed by David I, or possibly from a relic of the true cross known as the Holy Rood.
The palace itself is built around a huge quadrangle
On your way in, at the base of the grand staircase is a typically Scottish display of weaponry
And then we moved on through the state rooms
The throne room is dominated at one end by the matching thrones of King George V and Queen Mary
And at the other, by an imposing portrait of King Charles I
There palace is filled with the most exquisite furniture
Even the ceilings are works of art
As are the beds!
And, of course, everywhere you go, there are family portraits!
There are also plenty of display cases of interesting artefacts, including the Order of the Thistle habit and insignia
And then it was up the narrow winding stair, and into the oldest part of the palace, to view Mary, Queen of Scots rooms.
‘It was in the Queen’s private apartments that she witnessed the murder of David Rizzio, her private secretary, on 9 March 1566. Darnley (Mary’s first husband) and several nobles entered the apartment via the private stair from Darnley’s own apartments below. Bursting in on the Queen, Rizzio and four other courtiers, who were at supper, they dragged the Italian through the bedchamber into the outer chamber, where he was stabbed 57 times.’ [Courtesy of Wikipedia]
Finally it was time to exit the building and wander out through the gardens where the current monarch holds her Scottish garden parties. With more excellent views of Arthur’s Seat, you can also see how much more extensive the abbey buildings used to be.
I hope you’ve enjoyed your whistle-stop tour of Holyrood Palace?
Next, we visited the Queen’s Gallery, built at the western entrance to the palace, and housing paintings from the queen’s own collection. I was particularly keen to visit this time as the display was of grand masters usually housed in Buckingham Palace, but more of that next time…