Earlier today, The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh officially opened the Queen Elizabeth II Canal in Falkirk – visiting the iconic Kelpies – and met the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders regiment for a lunch at Stirling Castle.
On this leg of her annual Holyrood Week, Her Majesty and Prince Philip were invited to officially open a new canal named in the Monarch’s honour. The Queen Elizabeth II Canal, in Falkirk near the Helix in Grangemouth, is a main section of the Trans-Scotland canal regeneration scheme and will form the eastern gateway of the Forth and Clyde Canal in Grangemouth.
The Royals were also introduced to the Kelpies, huge metal horse head sculptures at the side of the canal, where they also met two shire horses, Duke and Dan, and the designer of the Kelpies monuments, Andy Scott.
Inside one of the structures, the couple unveiled a plaque to mark the canal opening.
Mr Scott said: “The Queen was asking me about the history of the project and the relationship with the Clydesdale horses,” referring to the large shire horses which pulled boats along.
“The Duke was particularly interested in the internal structure, the engineering, the fabrication that went on.”
Aboard the Wooden Spoon boat, leading a flotilla, The Queen officially opened the new canal.
The Queen and her consort also met the Argyll and Sutherland Highlands at Stirling Castle, where she was presented with the keys to the castle by the Earl of Mar and Kellie, who is the hereditary keeper of the keys.
Outside the castle, Her Majesty met Cruachan IV, the Shetland pony mascot of the Royal Marines band. He tried to munch on her posy of flowers to which she replied: “Go away!” She then hid them away from him behind her back.
The Royals talked over lunch and discussed the regeneration of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum with museum staff. At the castle, the royal couple also attended a thanksgiving service in the Chapel Royal; this visit marked 70 years since being appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment.
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Later, back at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Her Majesty received the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau and his wife as they make a brief stop in Scotland.