Holyrood Palace

Holyrood Palace

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Holyrood Palace'
Start a new discussion about 'Holyrood Palace'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The Palace of Holyroodhouse, commonly referred to as Holyrood Palace, is the official residence
Official residence
An official residence is the residence at which heads of state, heads of government, gubernatorial or other senior figures officially reside...

 of the monarch in Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

. The palace stands at the bottom of the Royal Mile
Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is a succession of streets which form the main thoroughfare of the Old Town of the city of Edinburgh in Scotland.As the name suggests, the Royal Mile is approximately one Scots mile long, and runs between two foci of history in Scotland, from Edinburgh Castle at the top of the Castle...

 in Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is a fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, from its position atop the volcanic Castle Rock. Human habitation of the site is dated back as far as the 9th century BC, although the nature of early settlement is unclear...

. Holyrood Palace is the setting for state ceremonies and official entertaining.

Holyrood Abbey
Holyrood Abbey
Holyrood Abbey is a ruined abbey of the Canons Regular in Edinburgh, Scotland. The abbey was founded in 1128 by King David I of Scotland. During the 15th century, the abbey guesthouse was developed into a royal residence, and after the Scottish Reformation the Palace of Holyroodhouse was expanded...

 was founded by David I, King of Scots in 1128, and Holyrood Palace has served as the principal residence of the Kings and Queens of Scots since the 15th century. Queen Elizabeth II spends one week in residence at Holyrood Palace at the beginning of each summer, where she carries out a range of official engagements and ceremonies.

The palace is open to the public throughout the year, except when members of the Royal Family
British Royal Family
The British Royal Family is the group of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom. The term is also commonly applied to the same group of people as the relations of the monarch in her or his role as sovereign of any of the other Commonwealth realms, thus sometimes at variance with...

 are in residence.

Holyrood Abbey


The ruined Augustinian abbey
Abbey
An abbey is a Catholic monastery or convent, under the authority of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serves as the spiritual father or mother of the community.The term can also refer to an establishment which has long ceased to function as an abbey,...

 that is sited in the grounds was founded in 1128 at the order of King David I of Scotland
David I of Scotland
David I or Dabíd mac Maíl Choluim was a 12th-century ruler who was Prince of the Cumbrians and later King of the Scots...

. The name derives either from a legendary vision of the cross witnessed by David I, or from a relic of the True Cross
True Cross
The True Cross is the name for physical remnants which, by a Christian tradition, are believed to be from the cross upon which Jesus was crucified.According to post-Nicene historians, Socrates Scholasticus and others, the Empress Helena The True Cross is the name for physical remnants which, by a...

 known as the Holy Rood or Black Rood, and which had belonged to Queen Margaret
Saint Margaret of Scotland
Saint Margaret of Scotland , also known as Margaret of Wessex and Queen Margaret of Scotland, was an English princess of the House of Wessex. Born in exile in Hungary, she was the sister of Edgar Ætheling, the short-ruling and uncrowned Anglo-Saxon King of England...

, David's mother. As a royal foundation, and sited close to Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is a fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, from its position atop the volcanic Castle Rock. Human habitation of the site is dated back as far as the 9th century BC, although the nature of early settlement is unclear...

, it became an important administrative centre. A Papal legate was received here in 1177, while in 1189 a council of nobles met to discuss a ransom for the captive king, William the Lion. Robert the Bruce held a parliament
Parliament of Scotland
The Parliament of Scotland, officially the Estates of Parliament, was the legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland. The unicameral parliament of Scotland is first found on record during the early 13th century, with the first meeting for which a primary source survives at...

 at the abbey in 1326, and by 1329 it may already have been in use as a royal residence. In 1370, David II
David II of Scotland
David II was King of Scots from 7 June 1329 until his death.-Early life:...

 became the first of several Kings of Scots to be buried at Holyrood. Not only was James II
James II of Scotland
James II reigned as King of Scots from 1437 to his death.He was the son of James I, King of Scots, and Joan Beaufort...

 born at Holyrood in 1430, it was at Holyrood that he was crowned, married and laid to rest. James III
James III of Scotland
James III was King of Scots from 1460 to 1488. James was an unpopular and ineffective monarch owing to an unwillingness to administer justice fairly, a policy of pursuing alliance with the Kingdom of England, and a disastrous relationship with nearly all his extended family.His reputation as the...

 and Margaret of Denmark were married at Holyrood in 1469. The early royal residence was in the abbey guesthouse, which most likely stood on the site of the present north range of the palace, west of the abbey cloister, and by the later 15th century already had dedicated royal apartments.

The early palace



Between 1501 and 1505, James IV
James IV of Scotland
James IV was King of Scots from 11 June 1488 to his death. He is generally regarded as the most successful of the Stewart monarchs of Scotland, but his reign ended with the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Flodden Field, where he became the last monarch from not only Scotland, but also from all...

 constructed a new palace adjacent to the abbey. The impetus for the work probably came from the marriage of James IV to Margaret Tudor
Margaret Tudor
Margaret Tudor was the elder of the two surviving daughters of Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York, and the elder sister of Henry VIII. In 1503, she married James IV, King of Scots. James died in 1513, and their son became King James V. She married secondly Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of...

, which took place in the abbey in August 1503 while work was still ongoing. The palace was built around a quadrangle
Quadrangle (architecture)
In architecture, a quadrangle is a space or courtyard, usually rectangular in plan, the sides of which are entirely or mainly occupied by parts of a large building. The word is probably most closely associated with college or university campus architecture, but quadrangles may be found in other...

, situated west of the abbey cloister. It contained a chapel, gallery, royal apartments, and a great hall. The chapel occupied the north range of the quadrangle, with the Queen's apartments occupying part of the south range. The west range contained the King's lodgings and the entrance to the palace. James IV also oversaw construction of a two-storey gatehouse, fragments of which survive in the Abbey Courthouse. In 1512 a lion house was constructed to house the king's menagerie, which included a lion and a civet
Civet
The family Viverridae is made up of around 30 species of medium-sized mammal, including all of the genets, the binturong, most of the civets, and the two African linsangs....

 among other exotic beasts. James V
James V of Scotland
James V was King of Scots from 9 September 1513 until his death, which followed the Scottish defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss...

 added to the palace between 1528 and 1536, beginning with the present north-west tower to provide new royal apartments. This was followed by reconstruction of the south and west ranges, with a new chapel in the south. The former chapel in the north range was converted into a council chamber. The west range contained a suite of rooms, extending the royal apartments in the tower. The symmetrical composition of the west façade suggested that a second tower at the south-west was planned, though this was never executed at the time.
In 1544, during the War of the Rough Wooing, the Earl of Hertford
Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset
Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, 1st Earl of Hertford, 1st Viscount Beauchamp of Hache, KG, Earl Marshal was Lord Protector of England in the period between the death of Henry VIII in 1547 and his own indictment in 1549....

 sacked Edinburgh, and Holyrood was looted and burned. Repairs were made, but the altars were destroyed by a Reforming mob in 1559. After the Scottish Reformation
Scottish Reformation
The Scottish Reformation was Scotland's formal break with the Papacy in 1560, and the events surrounding this. It was part of the wider European Protestant Reformation; and in Scotland's case culminated ecclesiastically in the re-establishment of the church along Reformed lines, and politically in...

 was formalised, the abbey buildings were neglected, and the choir and transepts of the abbey church were pulled down in 1570. The nave was retained as the parish church of the Canongate
Canongate
The Canongate is a small district at the heart of Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland.The name derives from the main street running through the area: called Canongate without the definite article, "the". Canongate forms the lower, eastern half of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh's historic Old Town....

.


The rooms in the north-west tower of the palace were occupied by Mary, Queen of Scots, from her return to Scotland in 1561 to her forced abdication in 1567. She married both of her Scottish husbands in the palace: Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, in 1565 in the chapel, and James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell
James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell
James Hepburn, 1st Duke of Orkney , better known by his inherited title as 4th Earl of Bothwell, was hereditary Lord High Admiral of Scotland. He is best known for his association with and subsequent marriage to Mary, Queen of Scots, as her third husband...

, in 1567 in the great hall. It was in her own apartments that she witnessed the murder of David Rizzio
David Rizzio
Davide Rizzio, sometimes written as Davide Riccio or Davide Rizzo , was an Italian courtier, born close to Turin, a descendant of an ancient and noble family still living in Piedmont, the Riccio Counts de San Paolo et Solbrito, who rose to become the private secretary of Mary, Queen of Scots...

, her private secretary, on 9 March 1566. Darnley and others entered the Queen's apartment via the private stair from Darnley's own bedroom downstairs. Bursting in on the Queen and Rizzio, who were at supper, they dragged the Italian through the bedchamber into the outer chamber, where he was stabbed 56 times.
James VI
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

 took up residence at Holyrood in 1579 at the age of 13 years. His wife, Anne of Denmark
Anne of Denmark
Anne of Denmark was queen consort of Scotland, England, and Ireland as the wife of King James VI and I.The second daughter of King Frederick II of Denmark, Anne married James in 1589 at the age of fourteen and bore him three children who survived infancy, including the future Charles I...

, was crowned in the diminished abbey church in 1590, at which time the royal household at the palace numbered around 600 persons. When James became King of England in 1603 and moved to London, the palace was no longer the seat of a permanent royal court. James visited in 1617, for which the chapel was redecorated. More repairs were put in hand in preparation for the coronation of Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 as King of Scotland at Holyrood in 1633. On 10 August 1646 Charles appointed James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Hamilton
James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Hamilton
General Sir James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Hamilton KG was a Scottish nobleman and influential Civil war military leader.-Young Arran:...

, as hereditary Keeper of Holyroodhouse, an office which his descendants retain.

In 1650, either by accident or design, the east range of the palace was set on fire during the visit of Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

 and his soldiers. After this, the eastern parts of the palace were effectively abandoned. The remaining parts were used as barracks, and a two-storey block was added to the west range in 1659.

Rebuilding the palace


The following year saw the Restoration of Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 in England and Scotland. The Privy Council
Privy Council of Scotland
The Privy Council of Scotland was a body that advised the King.In the range of its functions the council was often more important than the Estates in the running the country. Its registers include a wide range of material on the political, administrative, economic and social affairs of Scotland...

 was reconstituted and once more met at Holyrood. Repairs were put in hand to allow use of the building by the Earl of Lauderdale
John Maitland, 1st Duke of Lauderdale
Sir John Maitland, 1st Duke and 2nd Earl of Lauderdale, 3rd Lord Thirlestane KG PC , was a Scottish politician, and leader within the Cabal Ministry.-Background:...

, the Secretary of State for Scotland
Secretary of State, Scotland
The Secretary of Scotland was a senior post in the pre-Union government of Scotland.The office appeared in the 14th century when it was combined with that of Keeper of the Privy Seal. Called Clericus Regis , he was regarded as an Officer of State...

, and a full survey was carried out in 1663 by John Mylne. In 1670, £30,000 was set aside by the Privy Council for the rebuilding of Holyrood.

Plans for complete reconstruction were drawn up by Sir William Bruce
William Bruce (architect)
Sir William Bruce of Kinross, 1st Baronet was a Scottish gentleman-architect, "the effective founder of classical architecture in Scotland," as Howard Colvin observes...

, the Surveyor of the King's Works
Master of Work to the Crown of Scotland
The Master of Works to the Crown of Scotland was responsible for the construction, repair and maintenance of royal palaces, castles and other crown property in Scotland. The main buildings were; Holyroodhouse; Edinburgh Castle; Stirling Castle; Linlithgow Palace; and Falkland Palace. The position...

, and Robert Mylne, the King's Master Mason. The design included a south-west tower to mirror the existing tower, a plan which had existed since at least Charles I's time. Following criticism from Charles II, Bruce redesigned the interior layout to provide suites of royal apartments on the first floor: the Queen's apartment on the west side; and the King's apartment on the south and east sides. The two were linked by a gallery to the north, and a council chamber occupied the south-west tower.


Work began in July 1671, starting at the north-west, which was ready for use by Lauderdale the following year. In 1675 Lord Hatton
Charles Maitland, 3rd Earl of Lauderdale
Charles Maitland, 3rd Earl of Lauderdale , was the second son of John Maitland, 1st Earl of Lauderdale ....

 became the first of many nobles to take up a grace-and-favour apartment in the palace. The following year the decision was taken to rebuild the west range of the palace, and to construct a kitchen block to the south-east of the quadrangle. Bruce's appointment as architect of the project was cancelled in 1678, with the remaining work being overseen by Hatton. By 1679 the palace had been re-constructed, largely in its present form. Craftsmen employed included the Dutch carpenters Alexander Eizat and Jan van Santvoort, and their countryman Jacob de Wet who painted several ceilings. The elaborate plasterwork was done by John Houlbert and George Dunsterfield.

Interior work was still in progress when the James, Duke of Albany
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

, the future James VII and II, and his wife Mary of Modena
Mary of Modena
Mary of Modena was Queen consort of England, Scotland and Ireland as the second wife of King James II and VII. A devout Catholic, Mary became, in 1673, the second wife of James, Duke of York, who later succeeded his older brother Charles II as King James II...

 visited that year. They returned to live at Holyrood between 1680 and 1682, in the aftermath of the Exclusion crisis, which had severely impacted James' popularity in England. When he acceeded to the throne in 1685, the Catholic king set up a Jesuit college in the Chancellor's Lodging to the south of the palace. The abbey was adapted as a chapel for the Order of the Thistle
Order of the Thistle
The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle is an order of chivalry associated with Scotland. The current version of the Order was founded in 1687 by King James VII of Scotland who asserted that he was reviving an earlier Order...

 in 1687-88. The architect was James Smith
James Smith (architect)
James Smith was a Scottish architect, who pioneered the Palladian style in Scotland. He was described by Colen Campbell, in his Vitruvius Britannicus , as "the most experienced architect of that kingdom".-Biography:...

, and carvings were done by Grinling Gibbons
Grinling Gibbons
Grinling Gibbons was an English sculptor and wood carver known for his work in England, including St Paul's Cathedral, Blenheim Palace and Hampton Court Palace. He was born and educated in Holland where his father was a merchant...

 and William Morgan. The interiors of this chapel, and the Jesuit college, were subsequently destroyed by an anti-Catholic mob, following the beginning of the Glorious Revolution
Glorious Revolution
The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, is the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau...

 in late 1688. In 1691 the Kirk of the Canongate
Kirk of the Canongate
The Kirk of the Canongate, or Canongate Kirk, serves the Parish of Canongate in Edinburgh's Old Town, in Scotland. It is a congregation of the Church of Scotland. The parish includes the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Scottish Parliament. It is also the parish church of Edinburgh Castle, even...

 was completed, to replace the abbey as the local parish church, and it is at the Kirk of the Canongate that the Queen today attends services when in residence at Holyrood Palace.

18th-century decline



After the Union of Scotland and England
Acts of Union 1707
The Acts of Union were two Parliamentary Acts - the Union with Scotland Act passed in 1706 by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act passed in 1707 by the Parliament of Scotland - which put into effect the terms of the Treaty of Union that had been agreed on 22 July 1706,...

 in 1707 the palace lost its principal functions, although it was used for the elections of Scottish representative peer
Representative peer
In the United Kingdom, representative peers were those peers elected by the members of the Peerage of Scotland and the Peerage of Ireland to sit in the British House of Lords...

s. The nobles who had been granted apartments in the palace continued to use them: the Duke of Hamilton
Duke of Hamilton
Duke of Hamilton is a title in the Peerage of Scotland, created in 1643. It is the senior dukedom in that Peerage , and as such its holder is the Premier Peer of Scotland, as well as being head of both the House of Hamilton and the House of Douglas...

 had already taken over the Queen's Apartments in 1684. The King's Apartments were meanwhile neglected.

Bonnie Prince Charlie
Charles Edward Stuart
Prince Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart commonly known as Bonnie Prince Charlie or The Young Pretender was the second Jacobite pretender to the thrones of Great Britain , and Ireland...

 held court at Holyrood for five weeks in September and October 1745, during the Jacobite Rising
Jacobite Rising of 1745
The Jacobite rising of 1745, often referred to as "The 'Forty-Five," was the attempt by Charles Edward Stuart to regain the British throne for the exiled House of Stuart. The rising occurred during the War of the Austrian Succession when most of the British Army was on the European continent...

. Charles occupied the Duke of Hamilton's apartments rather than the unkempt king's rooms, and held court in the Gallery. The following year, government troops were billeted in the palace after the Battle of Falkirk, when they damaged the royal portraits in the gallery, and the Duke of Cumberland stayed here on his way to Culloden
Battle of Culloden
The Battle of Culloden was the final confrontation of the 1745 Jacobite Rising. Taking place on 16 April 1746, the battle pitted the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart against an army commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, loyal to the British government...

. Meanwhile the neglect continued: the roof of the abbey church collapsed in 1768, leaving it as it currently stands. However, the potential of the palace as a tourist attraction was already being recognised, with the Duke of Hamilton allowing paying guests to view Queen Mary's apartments in the north-west tower.

The precincts of Holyrood Abbey, extending to the whole of Holyrood Park
Holyrood Park
Holyrood Park is a royal park in central Edinburgh, Scotland about a mile to the east of Edinburgh Castle. It has an array of hills, lochs, glens, ridges, basalt cliffs, and patches of whin providing a remarkably wild piece of highland landscape within its area...

, had been designated as a debtor's sanctuary since the 16th century. Those in debt could escape their creditors, and imprisonment, by taking up residence within the sanctuary, and a small community grew up to the west of the palace. The residents, known colloquially as "Abbey Laird
Laird
A Laird is a member of the gentry and is a heritable title in Scotland. In the non-peerage table of precedence, a Laird ranks below a Baron and above an Esquire.-Etymology:...

s", were able to leave the sanctuary on Sundays, when no arrests were permitted. The area was controlled by a baillie
Baillie
A baillie or bailie is a civic officer in the local government of Scotland. The position arose in the burghs, where baillies formerly held a post similar to that of an alderman or magistrate...

, and by several constables, appointed by the Keeper of Holyroodhouse. The constables now form a ceremonial guard at the palace.

Revival of the palace


Following the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, George III
George III of the United Kingdom
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

 allowed Louis XVI
Louis XVI of France
Louis XVI was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre until 1791, and then as King of the French from 1791 to 1792, before being executed in 1793....

's youngest brother, the Comte d'Artois
Charles X of France
Charles X was known for most of his life as the Comte d'Artois before he reigned as King of France and of Navarre from 16 September 1824 until 2 August 1830. A younger brother to Kings Louis XVI and Louis XVIII, he supported the latter in exile and eventually succeeded him...

 to live at Holyrood, where he took advantage of the abbey sanctuary to avoid his creditors. Artois stayed at Holyrood from 1796 to 1803, during which time the King's apartments were renovated. The Comte d'Artois inherited the French throne in 1824 as Charles X, but following the July Revolution
July Revolution
The French Revolution of 1830, also known as the July Revolution or in French, saw the overthrow of King Charles X of France, the French Bourbon monarch, and the ascent of his cousin Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orléans, who himself, after 18 precarious years on the throne, would in turn be overthrown...

 of 1830, the French royals lived at Holyrood again until 1832 when they moved to Austria.

King George IV
George IV of the United Kingdom
George IV was the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and also of Hanover from the death of his father, George III, on 29 January 1820 until his own death ten years later...

 became the first reigning monarch since Charles I to visit Holyrood, during his 1822 visit to Scotland. Although he stayed at Dalkeith Palace
Dalkeith Palace
Dalkeith Palace in Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland, is the former seat of the Duke of Buccleuch.Dalkeith Castle was located to the north east of Dalkeith, and was originally in the hands of the Clan Graham in the 12th century and given to the Douglas family in the early 14th century. James Douglas...

, the king held a levée
Levée (ceremony)
Lever , adopted in English as levée—initially the simple act of getting up in the morning—has traditionally been a daily moment of intimacy and accessibility to a monarch or leader...

 (reception) at Holyrood, and was shown the historic apartments. He ordered repairs to the palace, but declared that Queen Mary's rooms should be protected from any future changes. Over the next ten years, Robert Reid
Robert Reid (architect)
Robert Reid was the King's architect and surveyor for Scotland from 1827 to 1839. He is responsible for a number of public works particularly the façade of Parliament Square in Edinburgh, which houses the Court of Session....

 oversaw works including the demolition of all the buildings to the north and south of the main quadrangle, and remodelled the southern facade to match that of the east. In 1834 William IV
William IV of the United Kingdom
William IV was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover from 26 June 1830 until his death...

 agreed that the High Commissioner
Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
The Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is the British Sovereign's personal representative to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland , reflecting the Church's role as the national church of Scotland, and the Sovereign's role as protector and member of...

 to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is the sovereign and highest court of the Church of Scotland, and is thus the Church's governing body[1] An Introduction to Practice and Procedure in the Church of Scotland, A Gordon McGillivray, 2nd Edition .-Church courts:As a Presbyterian church,...

 could make use of the palace during the sitting of the assembly, and this tradition continues today.


On the first visit of Queen Victoria to Scotland in 1842, she also stayed at Dalkeith, and was prevented from visiting Holyrood by an outbreak of Scarlet Fever
Scarlet fever
Scarlet fever is a disease caused by exotoxin released by Streptococcus pyogenes. Once a major cause of death, it is now effectively treated with antibiotics...

. In preparation for her 1850 visit, more renovations were carried out by Robert Matheson of the Office of Works
Office of Works
The Office of Works was established in the English Royal household in 1378 to oversee the building of the royal castles and residences. In 1832 it became the Works Department within the Office of Woods, Forests, Land Revenues, Works and Buildings...

, and the interiors were redecorated by David Ramsay Hay
David Ramsay Hay
David Ramsay Hay , Scottish decorator and colour theorist.David Ramsay Hay was the son of a published poet and friend of Robert Burns, Rebekah Carmichael. After her husband died, David was educated at the expense of an uncle, then apprenticed as a painter with the house-painters Gavin Beugo &...

. Over the next few years, the lodgings of the various nobles were gradually repossessed, and Victoria was able to take up a second floor apartment in 1871, freeing up the former royal apartments as dining and drawing rooms, as well as a throne room. From 1854 the historic apartments in the north-west tower were formally opened to the public. Meanwhile Prince Albert took an interest in the grounds, forming a new carriage drive to the north and laying out the garden in its present form.

Although Edward VII
Edward VII of the United Kingdom
Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910...

 visited briefly in 1903, it was George V
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

 who transformed Holyrood into a 20th-century palace. Central heating and electric light were installed prior to his first visit in 1911, and after the First World War improvements to bathrooms and kitchens were carried out. In the 1920s the palace was formally designated as the monarch's official residence
Official residence
An official residence is the residence at which heads of state, heads of government, gubernatorial or other senior figures officially reside...

 in Scotland, and became the location for regular royal ceremonies and events. Holyroodhouse remains the property of the Crown
The Crown
The Crown is a corporation sole that in the Commonwealth realms and any provincial or state sub-divisions thereof represents the legal embodiment of governance, whether executive, legislative, or judicial...

, and as one of the occupied royal residences is maintained by the Property Section of the Royal Household
Royal Households of the United Kingdom
The Royal Households of the United Kingdom are the organised offices and support systems for the British Royal Family, along with their immediate families...

. Public access is managed by the Royal Collection Trust
Royal Collection Trust
The Royal Collection Trust is a British charitable body established in 1993 by the Queen under the Chairmanship of Prince Charles to manage the Royal Collection of the Sovereign of the United Kingdom....

, with revenues used to support the work of the trust as custodians of the Royal Collection
Royal Collection
The Royal Collection is the art collection of the British Royal Family. It is property of the monarch as sovereign, but is held in trust for her successors and the nation. It contains over 7,000 paintings, 40,000 watercolours and drawings, and about 150,000 old master prints, as well as historical...

.

Ghost


The naked ghost of one Bald Agnes (Agnes Sampson
Agnes Sampson
Agnes Sampson was a Scottish healer and purported witch. Also known as the "Wise Wife of Keith", Sampson is most famous for her part in the North Berwick witch trials in the later part of the sixteenth century....

), stripped and tortured in 1592 after being accused of witchcraft, is said to roam the palace.

Description


The palace as it stands today is largely the work of the late 17th-century. The exception is the 16th-century north-west tower, although the armorial panels on the walls are later replicas. The rooms open to the public include the 17th-century former king's apartments and Great Gallery, and the 16th-century apartments in the north-west tower.

17th-century apartments


The Great Stair in the south-west corner of the quadrangle has a 17th-century Baroque ceiling featuring plaster angels holding the Honours of Scotland
Honours of Scotland
The Honours of Scotland, also known as the Scottish regalia and the Scottish Crown Jewels, dating from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, are the oldest set of crown jewels in the British Isles. The existing set were used for the coronation of Scottish monarchs from 1543 to 1651...

. The Italian paintings on the walls are fragments of fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

es painted circa
Circa
Circa , usually abbreviated c. or ca. , means "approximately" in the English language, usually referring to a date...

1550 by Lattanzio Gambara
Lattanzio Gambara
Lattanzio Gambara was an Italian painter, active in a Renaissance and Mannerist styles.-Biography:Born in Brescia, as a 15 year old he initially apprenticed with Giulio Campi in Cremona, by 1549, he is working alongside Girolamo Romanino, who became his father-in-law. An altarpiece of S. Maria in...

, illustrating scenes from Ovid
Ovid
Publius Ovidius Naso , known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who is best known as the author of the three major collections of erotic poetry: Heroides, Amores, and Ars Amatoria...

's Metamorphoses. They were bought by Prince Albert in 1856, and placed here in 1881. At the top of the stair is the Royal Dining Room, formerly part of the Queen's apartments. The Adam style
Adam style
The Adam style is an 18th century neoclassical style of interior design and architecture, as practiced by the three Adam brothers from Scotland; of whom Robert Adam and James Adam were the most widely known.The Adam brothers were the first to advocate an integrated style for architecture and...

 decoration dates from around 1800, when this was part of the Duke of Hamilton's apartment.
The King's apartments occupied the whole of the south and east sides of the quadrangle. Accessed from the Great Stair, the suite of rooms comprised a guard hall, presence chamber, privy chamber, antechamber, bedchamber and closet. The level of privacy, as well as the richness of decoration, increased in sequence. From the visit of George IV in 1822, the guard hall has been used as a throne room, and the order of rooms reversed. The Evening Drawing Room and Morning Drawing Room occupy the former presence chamber and privy chamber, and retain their rich 17th-century ceilings. The Morning Drawing Room is hung with French tapestries bought by Charles II, and is used for private cenremonies. The King's Antechamber, Bedchamber and Closet are laid out along the east side of the palace. The King's Bedchamber, at the centre of the east façade, has the finest of the 17th-century plaster ceilings, augmented by paintings of Hercules
Hercules
Hercules is the Roman name for Greek demigod Heracles, son of Zeus , and the mortal Alcmene...

 by Jacob de Wet (II). The 17th-century bed was made for the Duke of Hamilton, although it was long referred to as "Queen Mary's Bed" when it occupied the older Queen's rooms.

The Great Gallery, the largest room in the palace, links the King's Closet with the former Queen's apartments in the west range. The gallery is decorated with 110 portraits of the Scottish monarchs, beginning with the legendary Fergus I, who supposedly ruled from 330 BC. The portraits were all completed between 1684 and 1686 by Jacob de Wet. After 1707, Scotland's representative peer
Representative peer
In the United Kingdom, representative peers were those peers elected by the members of the Peerage of Scotland and the Peerage of Ireland to sit in the British House of Lords...

s were elected here to be sent to Westminster. Bonnie Prince Charlie held evening balls in the gallery during his brief occupation, and it later became a Catholic chapel for the Comte d'Artois. Today it is used for large functions including investitures and banquets.

North-west tower


The suite of rooms on the first floor of the north-west tower comprises an audience chamber, accessed from a lobby next to the Great Gallery, and a bedroom, leading from which are two turret rooms or closets. These rooms were occupied by Lord Darnley in the 17th century, and later formed part of the Queen's apartment in the reconstructed palace, before being taken over by the Duke of Hamilton from 1684. Queen Mary occupied an identical suite of rooms on the second floor of the tower: the bedchambers are linked by a private spiral stair. The Queen's outer chamber contains her oratory
Oratory (worship)
An oratory is a Christian room for prayer, from the Latin orare, to pray.-Catholic church:In the Roman Catholic Church, an oratory is a structure other than a parish church, set aside by ecclesiastical authority for prayer and the celebration of Mass...

, and was the scene of the murder of David Rizzio, after he was dragged from the supper table in the northern turret room. In later centuries, tourists were often convinced that they could see his blood stains on the floor.

The wooden ceilings of both the main rooms date from Queen Mary's time, and the monograms MR (Maria Regina) and IR (Jacobus Rex) refer to Mary and her son, James VI. Shields commemorating Mary's marriage to Francis II of France
Francis II of France
Francis II was aged 15 when he succeeded to the throne of France after the accidental death of his father, King Henry II, in 1559. He reigned for 18 months before he died in December 1560...

 are believed to have been carved in 1559 but put in their present position in 1617, when the grisaille
Grisaille
Grisaille is a term for painting executed entirely in monochrome or near-monochrome, usually in shades of grey. It is particularly used in large decorative schemes in imitation of sculpture. Many grisailles in fact include a slightly wider colour range, like the Andrea del Sarto fresco...

 frieze was also added.

Gardens and grounds



The gardens of the palace extend to some 10 acres (4 ha), set within the much larger Holyrood Park
Holyrood Park
Holyrood Park is a royal park in central Edinburgh, Scotland about a mile to the east of Edinburgh Castle. It has an array of hills, lochs, glens, ridges, basalt cliffs, and patches of whin providing a remarkably wild piece of highland landscape within its area...

. In the 16th century a privy garden was located to the north of the palace, accessed via a wooden gallery from the north-west tower. This was removed in the 19th century when the present carriage drive was formed to avoid the Canongate slums. A small garden building survives from this time, and is known as Queen Mary's Bath House although it is not thought to have been used for bathing. The sundial to the north of the palace was carved in 1633 by John Mylne
John Mylne (d.1657)
John Mylne of Perth was a Scottish master mason who served as Master Mason to the Crown of Scotland. He was born in Perth, the son of John Mylne, also a master mason, and Helen Kenneries....

, while the fountain in the forecourt is a 19th-century replica of the 16th-century fountain at Linlithgow Palace
Linlithgow Palace
The ruins of Linlithgow Palace are situated in the town of Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland, west of Edinburgh. The palace was one of the principal residences of the monarchs of Scotland in the 15th and 16th centuries. Although maintained after Scotland's monarchs left for England in 1603, the...

. The ironwork gates and screens were erected in the 1920s, along with a statue of Edward VII, unveiled by George V in 1922.

The buildings to the west of the palace, through which the public enter, comprise the 19th-century guardhouse which replaced the tenements of the debtor's sanctuary. Adjacent to this is the Queen's Gallery
Queen's Gallery, Edinburgh
The Queen's Gallery is an art gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland. It forms part of the Palace of Holyroodhouse complex. It was opened in 2002 by Queen Elizabeth II, and exhibits works from the Royal Collection...

, opened in 2002 to display works of art from the Royal Collection
Royal Collection
The Royal Collection is the art collection of the British Royal Family. It is property of the monarch as sovereign, but is held in trust for her successors and the nation. It contains over 7,000 paintings, 40,000 watercolours and drawings, and about 150,000 old master prints, as well as historical...

.

Big Royal Dig


The Palace of Holyroodhouse, along with Buckingham Palace Garden and Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is a medieval castle and royal residence in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, notable for its long association with the British royal family and its architecture. The original castle was built after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I it...

, was excavated on 25–28 August 2006 as part of a special edition of Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

's archaeology series Time Team
Time Team
Time Team is a British television series which has been aired on Channel 4 since 1994. Created by television producer Tim Taylor and presented by actor Tony Robinson, each episode features a team of specialists carrying out an archaeological dig over a period of three days, with Robinson explaining...

. Timed to coincide with the 80th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

, this marked the 150th dig conducted by Time Team, and presented a rare opportunity for trenches to be dug within the royal gardens.

The archaeologists uncovered part of the cloister
Cloister
A cloister is a rectangular open space surrounded by covered walks or open galleries, with open arcades on the inner side, running along the walls of buildings and forming a quadrangle or garth...

 of Holyrood Abbey, running in line with the existing abbey ruins, and a square tower associated with the 15th-century building works of James IV was discovered. The team failed to locate evidence of the real tennis
Real tennis
Real tennis – one of several games sometimes called "the sport of kings" – is the original indoor racquet sport from which the modern game of lawn tennis , is descended...

 court used by Queen Mary to the north of the palace, as the area had been built over in the 19th century. An area of reddened earth was discovered, which was linked with the Earl of Hertford's burning of Holyrood during the Rough Wooing of 1544. Among the objects found were a seal matrix
Seal (device)
A seal can be a figure impressed in wax, clay, or some other medium, or embossed on paper, with the purpose of authenticating a document ; but the term can also mean the device for making such impressions, being essentially a mould with the mirror image of the design carved in sunken- relief or...

 used to stamp the wax seal on correspondence or documents, and a French double tournois coin, minted by Gaston d'Orleans
Gaston, Duke of Orléans
Gaston of France, , also known as Gaston d'Orléans, was the third son of King Henry IV of France and his wife Marie de Medici. As a son of the king, he was born a Fils de France. He later acquired the title Duke of Orléans, by which he was generally known during his adulthood...

 in 1634.

Official role



In modern times, monarchs have spent at least one week every year formally holding court
Noble court
The court of a monarch, or at some periods an important nobleman, is a term for the extended household and all those who regularly attended on the ruler or central figure...

 in the palace. The present Queen spends one week at Holyrood in summer, during which time investitures are held in the gallery, audiences are held in the morning room, and garden parties are hosted. While she is in residence, the Scottish variant of the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom is flown; at all other times the Royal Standard of Scotland
Royal Standard of Scotland
The Royal Standard of Scotland, , also known as the Banner of the King of Scots, or more commonly the Lion Rampant of Scotland, is the Scottish Royal Banner of Arms...

 is displayed. During the Queen's visits, the Royal Company of Archers
Royal Company of Archers
The Royal Company of Archers is a ceremonial unit that serves as the Sovereign's Bodyguard in Scotland, a role it has performed since 1822 and the reign of King George IV, when the company provided a personal bodyguard to the King on his visit to Scotland. It is currently known as the Queen's...

 form her ceremonial bodyguard. The Ceremony of the Keys, in which she is formally presented with the keys of Edinburgh by the Lord Provost, is held on her arrival. At the Palace the Queen meets and appoints the First Minister of Scotland
First Minister of Scotland
The First Minister of Scotland is the political leader of Scotland and head of the Scottish Government. The First Minister chairs the Scottish Cabinet and is primarily responsible for the formulation, development and presentation of Scottish Government policy...

. Prince Charles
Charles, Prince of Wales
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is the heir apparent and eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Since 1958 his major title has been His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. In Scotland he is additionally known as The Duke of Rothesay...

 also stays at Holyrood for one week a year, carrying out official duties as the Duke of Rothesay
Duke of Rothesay
Duke of Rothesay was a title of the heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of Scotland before 1707, of the Kingdom of Great Britain from 1707 to 1801, and now of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland....

, while other members of the royal family, including Princess Anne
Anne, Princess Royal
Princess Anne, Princess Royal , is the only daughter of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

, visit in a less official capacity.

In its role as the official residence of the monarch in Scotland, Holyroodhouse has hosted a number of foreign visitors and dignitaries, including Harald V of Norway
Harald V of Norway
Harald V is the king of Norway. He succeeded to the throne of Norway upon the death of his father Olav V on 17 January 1991...

 in 1994, Margrethe II of Denmark
Margrethe II of Denmark
Margrethe II is the Queen regnant of the Kingdom of Denmark. In 1972 she became the first female monarch of Denmark since Margaret I, ruler of the Scandinavian countries in 1375-1412 during the Kalmar Union.-Early life:...

, François Mitterrand
François Mitterrand
François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand was the 21st President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra, serving from 1981 until 1995. He is the longest-serving President of France and, as leader of the Socialist Party, the only figure from the left so far elected President...

, Helmut Kohl
Helmut Kohl
Helmut Josef Michael Kohl is a German conservative politician and statesman. He was Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998 and the chairman of the Christian Democratic Union from 1973 to 1998...

, Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing...

, Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

 in 2003, and Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI is the 265th and current Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign of the Vatican City State and the leader of the Catholic Church as well as the other 22 sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the Holy See...

 in 2010. A meeting of the European Council
European Council
The European Council is an institution of the European Union. It comprises the heads of state or government of the EU member states, along with the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council, currently Herman Van Rompuy...

 was held at the palace during the British presidency of the council in 1992.

Architectural historian
Architectural historian
A architectural historian is a person who studies and writes about the history of architecture, and is regarded as an authority on it Similar profession are known widely such as Historian, Art historian and Archaeologist. Architectural historians survey areas that are often threatened by extinction...

 Dan Cruickshank
Dan Cruickshank
Dan Cruickshank is an art historian and BBC television presenter.-Early life:As a young child he lived for some years in Poland...

 selected the Palace as one of his eight choices for the 2002
2002 in literature
The year 2002 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-Events:*March 16: Authorities in Saudi Arabia arrested and jailed poet Abdul Mohsen Musalam and fired a newspaper editor following the publication of Musalam's poem The Corrupt on Earth that criticized the state's Islamic...

 BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 book The Story of Britain's Best Buildings.

The Keeper of Holyroodhouse


A measure of the importance of Holyroodhouse is the status of its Keeper, who was appointed to oversee the Palace in the absence of the court. There were various grants of the office of Keeper of Holyroodhouse until 1646 when King Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 conferred it heritably on the 1st
James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Hamilton
General Sir James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Hamilton KG was a Scottish nobleman and influential Civil war military leader.-Young Arran:...

 Duke of Hamilton
Duke of Hamilton
Duke of Hamilton is a title in the Peerage of Scotland, created in 1643. It is the senior dukedom in that Peerage , and as such its holder is the Premier Peer of Scotland, as well as being head of both the House of Hamilton and the House of Douglas...

, whose descendants have retained it ever since. The post is one of the Great Offices
Great Officer of State
In the United Kingdom, the Great Officers of State are traditional Crown ministers, who either inherit their positions or are appointed to exercise certain largely ceremonial functions. Separate Great Officers exist for England and Scotland, and formerly for Ireland...

 in the Royal Household in Scotland, and indeed the private ducal apartments cover a larger area of the palace than the state ones. As well as his own deputy, the Keeper still appoints the Bailie
Bailiff
A bailiff is a governor or custodian ; a legal officer to whom some degree of authority, care or jurisdiction is committed...

 of Holyroodhouse, who is responsible for law and order within the Holyrood Abbey Sanctuary. The High Constables of Holyroodhouse are responsible to the Keeper.

There was formerly a separate Keeper of Holyrood Park
Holyrood Park
Holyrood Park is a royal park in central Edinburgh, Scotland about a mile to the east of Edinburgh Castle. It has an array of hills, lochs, glens, ridges, basalt cliffs, and patches of whin providing a remarkably wild piece of highland landscape within its area...

, which surrounds Holyroodhouse, and the title was held on an hereditary basis by the Earls of Haddington
Earl of Haddington
Earl of Haddington is a title in the Peerage of Scotland. It was created in 1627 for the noted Scottish lawyer and judge Thomas Hamilton, 1st Earl of Melrose. He was Lord President of the Court of Session from 1616 to 1625...

. This was purchased by the Crown and the office extinguished in 1843 after disputes over the Keeper's right to allow quarrying within the Park.

See also

  • Holyrood (disambiguation)
  • Historic Scotland
    Historic Scotland
    Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government, responsible for historic monuments in Scotland.-Role:As its website states:...

     (Executive agency
    Executive agency
    An executive agency, also known as a next-step agency, is a part of a government department that is treated as managerially and budgetarily separate in order to carry out some part of the executive functions of the United Kingdom government, Scottish Government, Welsh Assembly or Northern Ireland...

     of the Scottish Government responsible for Holyrood Abbey
    Holyrood Abbey
    Holyrood Abbey is a ruined abbey of the Canons Regular in Edinburgh, Scotland. The abbey was founded in 1128 by King David I of Scotland. During the 15th century, the abbey guesthouse was developed into a royal residence, and after the Scottish Reformation the Palace of Holyroodhouse was expanded...

    ).

External links