Holyrood Week 2021

Royal Week, or ‘Holyrood Week’, takes place each Summer as The Queen and Members of the Royal Family undertake visits across Scotland celebrating Scottish culture, achievement and communities. The Queen takes up residence at The Palace of Holyroodhouse, which is Her Majesty's Official Residence in Scotland and stands at the end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

Day One

On the first day of Royal Week The Queen was joined by The Duke of Cambridge, or The Earl of Strathearn as he is formally known in Scotland.

In the morning, The Queen and The Duke travelled to AG Barr’s factory in Cumbernauld where Her Majesty officially opened their new process facility.

Established over 140 years ago in Scotland, AG Barr has since created a portfolio of successful drinks including the iconic IRN-BRU drink, which launched in 1901. IRN-BRU is a carbonated soft drink made to an original secret recipe, which contains 32 flavours. Other popular drinks manufactured by AG Barr include Rubicon fruit and juice drinks and Strathmore Still Spring Water.

During the visit, Her Majesty and The Earl of Strathearn were given an overview of the history of the company before meeting employees to learn about the company’s place in local community life. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also viewed products created at the factory before signing their visitor’s book.

Later in the afternoon The Queen arrived at the Palace of Holyroodhouse for the traditional 'Ceremony of the Keys', where the Lord Provost of Edinburgh presented the keys of the City to Her Majesty. It's a very ancient ceremony that happens every time the Sovereign visits the City.

The keys are borne by the City Chamberlain on a cushion of red velvet, edged with gold braided fringe and with thistles embroidered at is four corners. The Lord Provost addresses The Queen saying: "We, the Lord Provost and the members of the City of Edinburgh District Council, welcome your Majesty to the capital city of your ancient & hereditary kingdom of Scotland and offer for your gracious acceptance the keys of Your Majesty's good City of Edinburgh". The Queen then returns the keys, saying: "I return these keys, being perfectly convinced that they cannot be placed in better hands than those of the Lord Provost and Councillors of my good City of Edinburgh".

The Guard of Honour for this year’s Ceremony of the Keys was provided by the Balaklava Company, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland. They were supported by the Pipes and Drums of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Band of The Royal Regiment of Scotland.

After the Ceremony of the Keys, The Queen and The Duke of Cambridge met local volunteers and first responders to thank them for their efforts during the pandemic.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex and Forfar

The Earl and Countess of Wessex are also in Scotland for Holyrood Week. On Day One, they met business owners and members of the local community in Forfar and Angus.

Day Two

The second day of Holyrood Week began with a visit to Glasgow's famous shipyards by The Duke of Cambridge.

Dutring the visit, His Royal Highness announced that The Duchess of Cambridge is to be Sponsor of HMS GLASGOW which is under construction in Glasgow. The role will see The Duchess supporting the crew through milestones, events and deployments over the vessel's coming years of service.

The Queen's Audiences

Her Majesty welcomed Scottish leaders to the Palace of Holyroodhouse for official meetings.

The Queen at Stirling Castle

Her Majesty honoured one of her longest-standing military associations with a visit to the The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum at Stirling Castle:

Her Majesty has donated items of her own clothing to the newly renovated museum which is devoted to telling the story of a regiment which has seen active service in the Boer War as well as the First and Secon World Wars. 

The Earl and Countess of Forfar in Edinburgh

Their Royal Highnesses took a stroll through Edinburgh,finding out more about how businesses have been impacted by COVID.


Day Three

The Queen was joined by The Princess Royal on her third day in Scotland - their first engagement together was at the Children's Wood in Glasgow: a former football pitch turned community nature reserve.  

Her Majesty and His Royal Highness met members of the local community who enjoy the green space, including volunteer gardeners, dog walkers and schoolchildren.

Sky Park

Her Majesty and Her Royal Highness visited two Glasgow-based businesses whch are leading the way in the development and production of satellites.

AAC Clyde Space and Spire Global both talked their Royal visitors through the practical applications of the data which is captured from their satellites. 

Day Four

Ahead of COP26 in Glasgow later this year, The Queen and The Princess Royal, Chancellor, visited the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute (ECCI) at The University of Edinburgh to learn about their work to combat climate change. 

During the visit, The Queen and The Princess Royal spoke to staff and students about their pioneering research into ways to reverse the effects of climate change across planetary health, oceans, sustainable food systems and earth observation.

Her Majesty and Her Royal Highness also heard from academics about the newly-launched Edinburgh Earth Initiative, which will be a focal point for the University’s teaching and research on climate. As well as supporting the creation of global partnerships to deliver climate solutions, it will also offer scholarship opportunities for students from communities most at risk from climate change, to better investigate ways to combat its effects.

At the end of the visit, Her Majesty and Her Royal Highness met representatives from the Children’s Parliament who explained their recent contribution to Scotland’s Climate Assembly, which was supported by the ECCI. The children presented The Queen with two trees that will be planted as part of The Queen’s Green Canopy, a UK-wide tree planting initiative to celebrate Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee next year.