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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 October, 2004, 20:13 GMT 21:13 UK
Guide to opening of Scottish Parliament

Click on the links in the map below to find out details of the ceremonies to mark the official opening of the new Scottish Parliament.

Palace of HolyroodhouseScottish ParliamentParliament HallRoyal Mile


The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will arrive at Parliament Hall on Saturday morning.

They will be met by Edinburgh's Lord Provost Lesley Hinds, First Minister Jack McConnell and the Scottish Parliament's Presiding Officer George Reid.

A 20-minute event will be held to reflect the historic change in the Scottish political landscape over the past 300 years.

The ceremony will be opened with the fanfare introduction "Royale" composed by Major W. Jackson.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh
The Queen will meet the first minister

Mr McConnell, Nicola Sturgeon, David McLetchie, Robin Harper, and Jim Wallace will make short speeches.

The Lord Lyon King of Arms and the Duke of Hamilton, bearing the Crown of Scotland will also attend.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will then meet members of the Scottish Youth Theatre.

In 1633 Charles I commanded the building of a dedicated Parliament House, on the abandoned kirkyard beside St Giles.

The hall within this building housed the parliament from 1639 until the Union of 1707.

Parliament Hall still remains within the complex of buildings ranged on the right of Parliament Square, which today houses the Court of Session, the High Court of Justiciary and the Law Libraries.


The Riding down the Royal Mile to Holyrood is a key element of the opening ceremony programme.

It will feature schoolchildren, community groups and representatives of civic society from every constituency in Scotland who were nominated by their MSPs.

Edinburgh's Royal Mile
The Riding will run down the Royal Mile

The 1,000-strong event, which will span the length of the Royal Mile and last about 30 minutes, will be attended by Sir Sean Connery, along with bands from across Scotland.

The start of The Riding, which marks the centuries-old Scots tradition of parliament and people working in public partnership, will be marked by a Royal Air Force flypast at 11.01am.

The old Scottish Parliament traditionally opened with a processional ceremony called the "Riding of the Parliament".

The first Riding of Parliament to the newly completed Parliament Hall on Edinburgh's High Street took place in 1639.

This Riding was the basis of the ceremony that occurred at the opening of each parliament up until a few years before the Treaty of Union in 1707.


First Minister Jack McConnell will join the other political leaders in the line-up inside Holyrood to await the arrival of the Royal guests.

The Duke of Hamilton bearing the Crown of Scotland will also be at Holyrood.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will take a tour of the parliament building which will include the office of Shiona Baird, the Scottish Green Party MSP for North East Scotland.

Silversmith Graham Stewart with his work
The sculpture will be presented to Holyrood by the Queen

This will allow the Royal guests to see the new accommodation facilities available to the members.

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra will perform a fanfare to mark the beginning of the official opening ceremony before the Queen in the Chamber.

The opening programme will include performances from BBC Young Musician of the Year 2004, violinist Nicola Benedetti and singer-songwriter Eddi Reader.

Liz Lochhead will read a poem penned by Scotland 's national poet Edwin Morgan.

Following the ceremony, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will meet guests and staff.

Before departing, the Queen will also unveil the "Honours of Scotland" sculpture gifted by the Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh.

The sculpture of Scottish regalia has been crafted by Graham Stewart, from Dunblane.


Holyroodhouse Palace is the Queen's official Scottish residence.

Situated at the end of the Royal Mile, the palace is closely associated with Scotland's turbulent past, including Mary, Queen of Scots, who lived here between 1561 and 1567.

Successive kings and queens have made the palace of Holyroodhouse the premier royal residence in Scotland.

Today, the palace is the setting for State ceremonies and official entertaining.


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