It could not have been more appropriate – a royal palace being officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen. Yesterday the castle and its staff warmly welcomed Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh to view the Renaissance palace at Stirling Castle after its £12 million refurbishment.
The Queen arrived at the castle at around noon. She wore an ice blue hat in sinamay with black goose quill arrowheads and black contrasting brim, and an ice blue brocade dress. The royal couple visited the apartments where Mary Queen of Scots spent her early childhood, along with her mother Mary of Guise, widow of James V and Dowager Queen of Scotland. They were provided with a guided tour by Historic Scotland Chief Executive Ruth Parsons and were accompanied by Head of Major Projects Chris Watkins. At the end of the tour Her Majesty unveiled an engraved wooden plaque commemorating the official opening of the palace.
It was a huge thrill to have the opportunity to meet Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. During and after the tour the royal couple were introduced to people who had played a key role in returning the palace to how it may have looked in the 1540s. These included some of the traditional craftsmen and women whose skills in everything from painting, furniture-making, metalwork, weaving, embroidery and carving have brought the palace interiors to life.
The Queen and the Duke then attended a lunch in the Great Hall, which is the largest surviving medieval banqueting hall in Scotland. The menu included smoked hock terrine, poached darne of Loch Duart salmon and classic lemon tart with raspberry sauce. Musical entertainment was provided by youngsters from Raploch’s Big Noise orchestra. Guests included First Minister, Alex Salmond, the earl and countess of Mar and Kellie, Anne McGuire MP and Bruce Crawford MSP and the Lord Lieutenant Marjory McLachlan.
Gillian Macdonald, castle executive manager.