8 - Holyrood Palace

8 - Holyrood Palace

The large clearing at the foot of the Canongate, over which Arthur's Seat condescendingly looms, has been a seat in power in Scotland, intermittently, for over 500 years.

Beginning with Holyrood Palace to the East, we see the home used by Mary, Queen of Scots during her reign, and a symbol of the power of the monarchy. Though it fell into disuse after the Union of the Crowns in 1603, the palace has been resurrected in the past century, and is now HM The Queen's official residence in Scotland.

The system of monarchy is wholly European. Our current royal house, renamed 'Windsor' in 1917, is in fact that of 'Saxe-Coburg Gotha', the Duke of Edinburgh is Greek, the 1688 Glorious Revolution saw a Dutch Prince invited by Parliament to depose the Stuart King (whose main crime was to marry an Italian Catholic), and, following Queen Anne's death in 1714, Britain imported its monarchy from Hanover, from which the present Queen is descended. The monarchy in Britain, too often the focal point of insular nationalistic fervour, is in fact a continental institution!

Moving from the past to the present, we need only walk across the road, to the strikingly designed Scottish Parliament, which was resumed in 1999, and which has sat on this site since 2004.

Tickets for the museums within Holyrood Palace can be bought on the day.

Ad Meskens, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons