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Holyrood Palace

Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, also known as the Palace of Holyroodhouse has long been the monarch’s official residence in Edinburgh, Scotland. Holyrood Palace is situated at the bottom of Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile area of the city, and at the opposite end of the mile to Edinburgh Castle. Holyrood Abbey, which is located in the grounds of the palace, actually dates from 1126, in the reign of the Scottish King David and predates the building of the palace.

Holyrood Palace is the location in Scotland for official entertaining and state ceremonies when the monarchy is in residence. The palace has been the primary residence of the Kings and Queens of Scotland, and since the union, the United Kingdom since the fifteenth century At the beginning of each summer, Queen Elizabeth the Second spends a week in residence at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh. During her time in residence the Queen carries out a number of ceremonies and official engagements. Holyrood Palace is open to the public all year round, other than when the royal family is staying there.

Holyrood Palace Edinburgh is built on the site of what was, up until the fifteenth century a guesthouse. Before the palace itself was constructed, medieval monarchs stayed at the guesthouse and by the end of the century the building had become a residence for royalty in all but name. James the Second of Scotland was not only born in Holyrood in 1430, he was also married and eventually buried there.

James the Fourth constructed a new building at Holyrood between 1498 and 1501, which then became a palace as we know it. The building is situated round a quadrangle to the west of the Abbey and contained royal apartments, a great hall, a gallery and a chapel. The chapel was situated in what is now the north range of the great quadrangle while part of the south range is occupied by the Queen’s apartments. The palace entrance and the King’s apartments are in a range to the west and the construction of a two storey gatehouse was also overseen by the King. Between 1528 and 1536 the palace was added to by James the Fifth, starting with the north west tower, situated in that tower is a suite of rooms made famous by the fact that they were once occupied by Mary Queen of Scots. Mary was the sister of Elizabeth the First of England, who eventually had Mary beheaded on charges of treason.

The Holyrood Palace ceased to be the seat of court when James the Sixth became king of Scotland and England and moved to London in 1603. The palace was destroyed by fire during the time of Cromwell and rebuilt by Charles the Second in its present form between 1680 and 1682. During the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie held court at the palace for five weeks. The French royal family stayed at Holyrood from 1830 to 1832 following their second exile from France. In modern times, like our present Queen, monarchs have usually spent at least one week a year in residence at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh.