A Scottish Welcome

Sharing a memory from my Dad today just because it is a lovely one — and full of imagery for me. He recalled that it is eighty years ago today that King George VI was crowned at Westminster Abbey.

Dad remembered that because of another family memory seventy years ago when he was a young man of twenty three. He went with his parents on the train to Edinburgh. The family had emigrated to Manchester and it was the first time that they had been back in Scotland since before the War– train journeys were expensive and they did not have a car, so that sort of holiday had to be saved for.

To their delight, as they alighted from the train at Edinburgh, the pipes and drums started a resounding welcome. They were to discover a few minutes later that their Majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth had similarly just arrived on a different platform from London. The then Princess Elizabeth was also accompanying her parents, together with her fiancé Prince Philip of Greece. Both Princess and Prince Philip were presented with the freedom of the City in July 1947. I do hope that the Royal Family enjoyed the bag pipers who were welcoming my Grandfather home! Or, just maybe, it was the other way around.

The royal residence in Edinburgh is Holyrood Palace and had been for many years and predecessors. David I began the interest by building the foundations for an Augustinian monastery on the site in 1128. Over the centuries this grew and was added to and when Edinburgh became the capital of Scotland in the fifteenth century, Holyrood Palace became the choice of Royal residence, no doubt the parkland offering good hunting.

There was a period of approximately two hundred years when it fell out of favour and into disrepair, but Queen Victoria loved the Palace and did much to renovate it.

My Dad and his family, along with many other enthusiastic observers, climbed the hill to Arthur’s Seat and found a good viewing point where they could look down into the Palace gardens and watch the King and Queen with their guests.

What a wonderful memory to have and I am so pleased to now have it, albeit second hand, as one of mine.

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