Today, The King begun the annual tradition of Holyrood Week – a week that sees the Royal Family put Scotland at the forefront their engagements for five days.
Holyrood Week was kicked off with the traditional Ceremony of the Keys at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
The ceremony of the keys sees the Monarch being handed the keys of the city of Edinburgh, and welcomed to their ‘ancient and hereditary kingdom of Scotland’.
The tradition highlights that the Monarch returns the keys, entrusting their safekeeping to the city’s elected officials.
Charles was greeted with the line ‘We welcome Your Majesty to the Capital City of your Ancient and Hereditary Kingdom of Scotland and offer for your gracious acceptance the Keys of Your Majesty’s good City of Edinburgh.’
He replied: ‘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.’
His Majesty reviewed the Royal Company of Archers, who had formed the Guard of Honour, for the Ceremony of Keys on the forecourt of the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
After the ceremony had taken place, His Majesty was presented with a new ceremonial sword, the ‘Elizabeth Sword’. The blade, named after Elizabeth II will replace the existing sword and will be stored with the Honours of Scotland.
In the evening, His Majesty attended a reception to mark the 25th anniversary of the Royal Yacht Britannia arriving in Edinburgh.
Britannia was launched by Elizabeth II in 1953 from the John Brown and Co. shipyard in Clydebank. Over her 44 years on the water, the Yacht was used by the Royal Family for private holidays, honeymoons as well as state occasions. The vessel travelled over one million miles during its lifetime.
However, the yacht was to be the last in the line of royal yachts, as Prime Minister John Major announced in 1994 that there would be no further work carried out on Britannia due to the high costs. The decommissioning of the Yacht in December 1997 saw Elizabeth II unusually shed a tear in public. Today, the Royal Yacht is now a floating museum.
During the reception, The King saw the Mess Dress uniform which belonged to his late father, Prince Philip and was given a tour of the Royal Yacht, where he saw the Engine Room, Laundry and Rolls Royce Garage. Of course these rooms will have been familiar to Charles, who travelled on the boat frequently, including family holidays as a child and for his honeymoon in 1981.
He also met former crew before joining a reception with the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust’s Trustees and Senior Management team in the State Dining Room and Drawing Room.