The Royal Visit

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The 28th of May, 1929 marked the 600th anniversary of the granting of a royal charter by King Robert the Bruce to the City of Edinburgh in 1329. A series of events were planned to celebrate the anniversary, centring on a royal visit to the city by Prince Albert and Lady Elizabeth, the Duke and Duchess of York at the time.

Robert the Bruce charter 1329
King Robert I charter granting Edinburgh Royal Burgh status in 1329. From collection held at Edinburgh City Archives.

The day before the anniversary, school children were invited to a garden party at Holyrood House as guests of the duke and duchess. On the day itself, there was a school holiday declared by the Town Council, with school children being invited to sing at the ceremony to unveil the Robert the Bruce and William Wallace statues on the Castle Esplanade by Prince Albert. Afterwards, a pageant took place in Princes Street Gardens, followed by three performances at the Usher Hall of a production called the ‘Masque of Edinburgh’ organised by the Outlook Tower Association.

Castlehill School Log Book_SL174_1_2(2)
Castlehill Primary School Log Book detailing school closure for the royal visit and pageant, May 1929. From collection held at Edinburgh City Archives.

Edinburgh as the capital of Scotland has a long history of royal visits and ceremonies, and there are many references within the official council records detailing such events. These range from the details of a banquet held for Mary Queen of Scots in 1561, to the annual Ceremony of the Keys that is still held between the Monarch and the Lord Provost of Edinburgh in Holyrood Palace to this day.

Royal Receptions at Edinburgh volume_Room1.8 shelf 2a
Mary Queen of Scots banquet 1561. From volume held in Edinburgh City Archives
Royal Visit Programmes 1953_MYBNU126F
Royal visit programmes 1953. From collection held at Edinburgh City Archives.
L&B Police collection Royal Visit SL260_ECP_8_2_6
Royal procession outside the City Chambers and St Giles in the 1970s. From collection held at Edinburgh City Archives

Edinburgh remembers such events and ceremonies in its official records, as well as in the programmes and photographs of the events themselves. We preserve these records to tell us about the past; but we want you to tell us what we should collect about life today for tomorrow: www.edinburgh.gov.uk/archivesurvey