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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 June, 2003, 17:19 GMT 18:19 UK
'Queen of Scots' visits Holyrood
The Queen meets party leaders
The Queen makes her third visit to the parliament
The Queen has addressed MSPs at the Scottish Parliament and been hailed as "our Queen of Scots".

A day after celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of her coronation, she addressed MSPs to mark the start of Holyrood's second session.

The Queen met the leaders of the main political parties represented in the Scottish Parliament - with the exception of the Scottish Socialists.

The party's leader Tommy Sheridan was among an estimated 19 MSPs who boycotted the event or could not attend.

He and his five party colleagues were joined by members of the Scottish National Party - including deputy leader Roseanna Cunningham - and the Scottish Greens.

But Green parliamentary leader Robin Harper was at Holyrood to meet the monarch.

Official opening

The royal visit followed Prince Charles' attendance at the Kirking of the Parliament in St Giles Catherdal, Edinburgh, on 6 May.

The Queen performed the official opening of the parliament in July 1999.

She returned to address MSPs last year as part of her Golden Jubilee tour.

Trumpet fanfare
The Queen was greeted by a fanfare
First Minister Jack McConnell, his deputy Jim Wallace and the other party leaders were presented to the royal party by Presiding Officer George Reid.

The Queen was introduced in a speech by Mr Reid, who paid tribute to the "rainbow parliament" which he pledged would engage with the people.

"Your Majesty, our Queen of Scots, the key challenge of the next four years is to build confidence in this parliament as the place where the issues of devolved Scots life are clearly delineated, properly debated, thoroughly scrutinised and finally decided."

The Queen also paid tribute to the diverse nature of Holyrood.

"That diversity reflects the nature of Scottish society," she said.

"There are many different traditions represented in this chamber.

"And each can contribute to the shaping of Scotland."

Parliaments everywhere can draw on your experience
The Queen

The Queen highlighted the "distinctly Scottish" nature of the parliament and described it as a modern affirmation of the link between crown, parliament and the people.

"Parliaments everywhere can draw on your experience, with your petitioning process, from the regular meetings of your committees throughout the land, from your engagement with young people and from your determination to employ the latest technology to reach out to the electorate."

Turning to the new Holyrood building and its proximity to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen raised a smile when she noted that shortly the parliament and the monarch would become neighbours.

She then concluded by wishing the parliament well.

"The contributions of all shades of opinion will be listened to with interest, I'm sure, not just here, but elsewhere in Britain, in Europe and the Commonwealth."

The Queen had been greeted by well-wishers and schoolchildren waving flags outside the chamber.

On the latest visit, 30 members of the Inverness Gaelic Choir sang to mark the Queen's arrival, as it had at the parliament's opening ceremony.

Its president, Andrew MacKintosh, said: "It is a great honour to be invited to come back again and sing during the visit of Her Majesty the Queen to the Scottish Parliament."




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Andrew Cassell
"This was not a formal state occasion, despite the trappings"



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