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Last Updated: Monday, 5 November 2007, 11:54 GMT
Royal patron for clan gathering
Prince Charles and Camilla
Prince Charles and Camilla regularly attend Highland Games
Prince Charles is to be patron of the biggest clan gathering in Edinburgh for almost 190 years.

More than 8,000 clansmen and clanswomen from around the globe will come together in Edinburgh for The Gathering in the Holyrood Park in July 2009.

It will be the first time since Sir Walter Scott's Royal Pageant in 1822 that so many clans have assembled in the city.

The event will be held as part of the Homecoming Scotland celebrations.

The programme will feature the 2009 World Highland Games Heavy Events Championship and an International Gathering of Scottish Clans and Families.

A parade of the clans up the Royal Mile will culminate in a spectacular pageant on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle.

There will also be a strong focus on traditional Highland Games, with solo piping and Highland dancing competitions, and there will be opportunities for people to research clan histories and genealogy.

It is only right and fitting that the greatest gathering of clans and chiefs ever to be held should be honoured by the presence of the chief of chiefs
Jamie Sempill
The Gathering 2009

Jamie Sempill, director of The Gathering 2009, said it was a "great honour" for the event to have Prince Charles as patron.

He added: "His presence will mean so much to all those who have travelled from overseas to take part in this unique gathering, which celebrates the clans' contribution to the history and culture of Scotland.

"It is important to remember that the renaissance of Highland games and clan gatherings can largely be attributed to Queen Victoria's patronage and her love of the Highlands with all its traditions.

"However, as the Duke of Rothesay and the Lord of the Isles, the Prince of Wales represents a far older connection between the monarchy and the clans of Scotland.

"Therefore it is only right and fitting that the greatest gathering of clans and chiefs ever to be held should be honoured by the presence of the chief of chiefs."

Homecoming Scotland is being held by the Scottish Government during 2009 to honour the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns by showcasing Scottish culture.



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