Her Majesty The Queen in Edinburgh


Throughout HM The Queen’s extraordinary reign, she showed great appreciation for her ancient and hereditary Kingdom of Scotland.

Queensferry Crossing

Sharing ancestry with the Royal House of Stewart and Robert II, King of Scots, her relationship with Scotland began in childhood and developed during her countless visits to Edinburgh, staying at her ancient Royal Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Discover images of official Royal visits to Edinburgh.

Royal engagements

She frequently reached out to charities, veterans, serving personnel, hospitals and children across the capital and during the hundreds of engagements she carried out in Edinburgh during her lifetime she won a very special place in the hearts of Scottish people.

The Queen famously opened both the Forth Road Bridge and the Queensferry Crossing, as well as the Borders Railway Line.

Holyrood Week

During 'Royal Week', The Queen would live at the Palace of Holyroodhouse while attending meetings and visiting Scottish regions. Her Majesty's stay in Edinburgh usually took place from the end of June to the beginning of July. At the start of The Queen’s visit, the Palace forecourt would be transformed into a colourful parade ground, where 700 guests could 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 wPalace of Holyroodhouseould be presented with a red-velvet cushion, on which rests the great key of the city. It was handed to The Queen by the Lord Provost, who welcomed Her Majesty formally and pledged the city’s loyalty. She would then hand back the key for safekeeping.

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh would entertain around 8,000 guests from all walks of Scottish life at the garden party during Holyrood week.

Holyrood Week would also sometimes include the Thistle Service at St Giles' Cathedral.

Voluntary service

Her Majesty famously viewed voluntary service as one of the most important elements of her work and had links or patronage with over 30 charities, military associations, professional bodies and public service organisations based in Edinburgh. This included the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal Company of Merchants, the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh and the Royal British Legion Scotland.

Royal Yacht Britannia

The Royal Yacht ‘Britannia’ was launched by the Queen at John Brown’s shipyard in Clydebank on 16 April 1953.

A crowd of more than 30,000 at Royal Yacht Britanniathe dockside sang Rule Britannia. Britannia carried the Queen and her family on many happy voyages in Scottish waters and around the world until the vessel was de-commissioned in 1997. On 20 July 1959, Britannia sailed the newly opened Saint Lawrence Seaway en route to Chicago, where she docked, making the Queen the first British monarch to visit the city. US President Dwight D Eisenhower was aboard Britannia for part of this cruise; Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were welcomed aboard in later years. Charles and Diana, the Prince and Princess of Wales, took their honeymoon cruise on Britannia in 1981.

During her 43-year career, the yacht travelled more than a million nautical miles around the globe. It opened as a visitor attraction at Ocean Terminal and remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in Edinburgh with around 300,000 visits a year. 

Lord Lieutenant

The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, as the civic head of the Council and of the city, is also the Lord Lieutenant which is the Queen’s Representative in Edinburgh. This role will now see the Lord Provost become the King’s representative. On behalf of the city, the Lord Provost has conveyed Edinburgh’s deepest condolences to all members of the Royal Family.