On July 5, Scotland held its own celebrations to mark King Charles III’s accession.
The ceremonial events are important for Holyrood Week – otherwise called Royal Week – which happens every year and generally sees the King travel to different regions in the country observing Scottish culture, accomplishment and community.
Prince William and Kate, who when traveling north of the border go by their Scottish titles of Duke and Duchess of Rothesay, joined King Charles and Queen Camilla.
Scotland welcomed the new King and Queen with a progression of occasions which denoted the Crowning ritual. On Wednesday, in Edinburgh, there was a People’s Procession, a Royal Procession, a National Service of Thanksgiving, and a Gun Salute.
People representing different communities and organizations also partook, with opportunities for the public who joined the fun as well.
St. Giles’ Cathedral, which many people remember as a stop on the Queen’s final journey back to London from Balmoral last year, was the setting for the beautiful Thanksgiving Service. The King then received a presentation of the Scottish Crown Jewels.
The crown, scepter, and sword, all of which are from the early 16th century, are the most significant parts of the regalia.
The oldest crown jewels in Britain are the Honours of Scotland, which are made of gold, silver, and precious gems. James V wore the crown for the first time when Queen Mary of Guise was crowned in 1540.
The solid silver’s origins remain a mystery. In 1494, it is believed to have been presented to James IV by Pope Innocent VIII. In 1543, the items were first used together at the coronation of Mary, Queen of Scots, who was just nine months old at the time.
The priceless regalia are kept at Edinburgh Castle, but the crown jewels were taken from their home between 1651 and 1660 to protect them from Oliver Cromwell’s army. During these years, much of the English regalia of the time was destroyed, and new items had to be made after the monarchy was restored.
The Honours were kept in a chest until famous novelist Walter Scott, who also discovered a mysterious silver wand, rediscovered them in 1818 following the Act of Union in 1707, when the English and Scottish Parliaments joined forces.
Another thing that was available at the occasion was the Stone of Scone or Stone of Predetermination. The stone, which was brought to London for Charles’ coronation but had previously served as a seat for Scottish kings’ coronations for centuries, is now kept in Scotland.
In a grand People’s Procession accompanied by the King’s Body Guard for Scotland, the Royal Company of Archers, an honor guard of Armed Forces personnel, and the Royal Regiment of Scotland Shetland pony mascot Corporal Cruachan IV, the Honours moved from Edinburgh Castle to St. Giles’. The People’s Procession featured 100 individual representatives of Scottish life.
The 51 Brigade Cadet Military Band and cadet musicians from the Combined Cadet Force Pipes and Drums entertained the crowd as they made their way down the Royal Mile.
There was an Royal parade from the Castle of Holyroodhouse to the church, supported by the Imperial Marine Band (Scotland) and the Lines, Drums and Trumpets of the second Unit, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 Scots).
A 21-weapon salute from the 12 Regiment Imperial Cannons sounded at the end of the service before the royal parade got back to Holyroodhouse.
It was an emotional moment for King Charles, who stood vigil over his mom’s final resting place in a similar space under a year ago.
This service of thanksgiving is a complex and important event for the monarchy that always stand above politics.
It was a beautiful event that showed how to combine and respect traditions and symbols of Scottish nationalism, from the Honours of Scotland to the Stone of Destiny, in a service of thanksgiving, whilst avoiding the politics of independence.