Each year, The Queen spends a week visiting various regions in Scotland, meeting Scots from all walks of life and hosting thousands at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in recognition of their good work. Known in Scotland as 'Royal Week', and to others as 'Holyrood Week', these visits celebrate Scottish culture, achievement and community.
Holyrood week normally takes place from the end of June to the beginning of July.
What happens during Holyrood Week?
Holyrood Week always begins on the forecourt of Holyrood Palace with the Ceremony of the Keys. The Queen is welcomed into the city of Edinburgh, 'your ancient and hereditary kingdom of Scotland' by the Lord Provost, who offers her the keys of the city.
There is an Investiture during the week, held in the Great Gallery at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, which is located at the end of the Royal Mile in the centre of Edinburgh. The Investiture recognises Scottish residents who have made a significant contribution to their society. Recent recipients have included TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, OBE, and Emeritus Professor for theoretical physics, Peter Higgs, who was made a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour.
A Garden Party is held, where The Queen welcomes around 8,000 people from all walks of Scottish life to spend a relaxed afternoon with her in the beautiful grounds of the Palace. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh proceed down avenues, speaking to a random selection of guests. The Party is accompanied by music from regimental bands and The Royal Scottish Pipers Society.
These avenues, and the 'Grand Circle', where The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh reconvene, are created by The Royal Company of Archers, who are The Queen's official bodyguards in Scotland. Since 1822 the Company have been available for duty to The Sovereign anywhere in Scotland.
Holyrood Week may also sometimes include the Thistle Service at St Giles' Cathedral.
What else does The Queen do during the week?
Apart from these regular engagements, The Queen also undertakes a number of regional Scottish engagements which vary from year to year. In recent years she has visited the a housing development for disabled veterans; opened a Technology and Innovation Centre at The University of Strathclyde; and visited the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow.