The Queen presents Royal Medals at the Royal Society of Edinburgh

The Queen visited the Royal Society of Edinburgh yesterday, to present medals to three esteemed figures from the fields of science, music and health, ending Holyrood week.

The Queen handed out medals at the Royal Society of Edinburgh during her last day of Holyrood week (Royal Family)

Continuing her busy schedule of engagements during the traditional ‘royal week’ residency in Scotland, The Queen bestowed the awards which honour ‘the most important contributions to the advancement of natural knowledge’.

Instituted to mark the millennium, this was the second time the Monarch has presented Royal Medals, and her third visit to Edinburgh’s Royal Society, of which she is patron.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh was founded in 1783, covers a broader range of fields than its London equivalent, the Royal Society, including literature and history.  Fellowship includes people from a wide range of disciplines – science & technology, arts, humanities, medicine, social science, business and public service.

Professor Tessa Holyoake receives her medal from The Queen (Royal Family)

The recipients of the medals were Professor Peter Boyle, Professor Tessa Holyoake and Donald Runnicles. Prof. Boyle is president of the International Prevention Research Institute and director of the University of Strathclyde Institute of Global Public Health; he was awarded for outstanding contribution to global cancer control and public health policy.


Professor Tessa Holyoake, Director of the Paul O’Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre at the University of Glasgow, was recognised for outstanding contribution to the field of Life Sciences, through her discovery of the existence of cancer stem cells in Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia and her development of a new therapy for the condition.

Mr Donald Runnicles, Chief Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, received a medal for his outstanding contribution to the art of music at the highest international level. Mr Runnicles was not present at the ceremony as he is in Wyoming in his capacity as the Music Director of the Grand Teton Music Festival, therefore the RSE President Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell accepted the medal on his behalf and will present it to him at a later date.


Before his departure for Wyoming, Mr Runnicles commented: “It is with profound pride and pleasure that I accept the Royal Society of Edinburgh Royal Medal 2017. My deep gratitude to Her Majesty The Queen and to the venerable Society is hard to express in words – as my musical career has taken to me to all the corners of the globe (a fact that sadly precludes my appearance today in person), it is and will remain Edinburgh, that beautiful and ancient city to whom I am forever indebted – the cultural jewel that has inspired and supported me. A city and community that, moreover, I can proudly call home.

“This auspicious award today humbles me – your approbation fills this Scot with renewed energy and passion as I endeavour through my music to make a difference.”

The President of the RSE, Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell said: “It was a very great pleasure to welcome our Patron, Her Majesty The Queen to the RSE to present the Royal Medals. As this is the third time Her Majesty has visited the RSE, and the second time that she has presented the Royal Medals, we deeply appreciate the interest she has shown in the RSE and her personal involvement in the presentation of these prestigious awards.

“This year’s Royal Medallists have all made truly exceptional contributions to their areas. These awards are the RSE’s highest accolades that reflect the enlightenment spirit of the RSE’s Royal Charter of 1783 and its remit to advance learning and useful knowledge.”

Her Majesty leaves the Royal Society of Edinburgh with a posy of flowers (Royal Family)

The Queen, dressed in pale blue, met past Royal Medalists and viewed the exhibition space, currently showing a botanical display, and signed the visitor’s book to mark her visit. Smiling broadly as she was presented with flowers, Her Majesty she left the investiture.

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