Opening of Parliament: Procession of the Crown of Scotland


The following information for media lays out the route of the Procession of the Crown of Scotland, for the Opening of the Fifth session of the Scottish Parliament on Saturday 2 July, and includes a selection of facts relating to the Crown’s history.

At around 10.00am on Saturday 2 July, the Duke of Hamilton and Brandon will receive the Crown of Scotland at Edinburgh Castle and proceed down the Royal Mile to the Scottish Parliament, led by Police Escort, and accompanied by Pipes and Drums of 3 SCOTS.

The Crown of Scotland will then make its procession into the Scottish Parliament via Queensberry House, carried by the Duke of Hamilton and Brandon, escorted throughout by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, Officers of Arms and the Royal Company of Archers.  

Facts on the Crown of Scotland

  • The Crown is part of the Honours of Scotland or the Scottish Regalia. The other pieces are the Sword of State and the Sceptre.
  • In early January 1540, with the imminent coronation of his new queen, Marie de Guise, King James V ordered that the Crown of Scotland, in a damaged and broken condition, was to be remodelled.
  • The task was given to an Edinburgh jeweller, John Mosman, who had less than six weeks to complete his work.
  • To the crown, which weighed a little over 1lb, Mosman added 41 ounces of Scottish gold, 22 gemstones and 68 pearls (the large pearls are oriental and the smaller ones are believed to be Scottish freshwater pearls).
  • Mosman delivered the Crown to Holyrood Palace on February 8 1540, and it was first worn in public by the King on February 22 for the Queen’s coronation.
  • In 1707, following the Act of Union, the Honours were locked away in the Crown Room at Edinburgh Castle and forgotten until they were famously rediscovered by Sir Walter Scott in 1818.
  • From the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 to the Treaty of Union 1707, the Honours were brought down from Edinburgh Castle with great ceremony and taken to Parliament House on the Royal Mile adjacent to St Giles Cathedral for the state opening of Parliament. The Riding of Parliament as we know it today is thought to originate from this ceremony, though it has its origins in the 16th century, if not earlier.
  • This elaborate procession from Edinburgh Castle down the Royal Mile to Parliament became known as the Riding of Parliament.  It has been reinstated since the opening of the new Scottish Parliament in 1999.  The ‘riding’ in 1999 was one of the largest ceremonial events in modern Scottish history. The Sword of State and the Sceptre are no longer in regular Royal ceremonial use.
  • Historic Environment Scotland maintains and manages Edinburgh Castle on behalf of Scottish Ministers.  As part of those duties, it maintains the physical security of the Crown Room and its contents.
  • Up until the mid-1990s, the Honours were cleaned annually every February but that process was discovered to be slowly damaging the Honours, and a decision was made to change tack. They are now only cleaned when required – usually around once every five years.


Events for the Opening of the fifth session of the Scottish Parliament on Saturday 2 July will include:

  • Her Majesty The Queen addressing MSPs in the Chamber.
  • Over 2,500 people taking part in a colourful, historic ‘Riding’ procession down Edinburgh’s Royal Mile,
  • Local Heroes: all MSPs have been asked to nominate one of their constituents in recognition of the important work they do to help others or their community.  All Local Heroes are invited to participate in the Riding as part of the Scottish Parliament’s Opening Ceremony.
  • Holyrood’s ‘Big Day Out’ – a fun packed afternoon for all the family.  With a programme that has something for everyone, the gardens and doors of the Parliament will be open to all to explore, observe and participate in a full programme of events including a mini-Highland games, Music and Dance, Science and Nature, Art activities for Kids and much more.

Big Day Out:

For more information on the free events for all the family at the Big Day Out, visit:

Download a PDF copy of the Big Day Out programme:

To add the Big Day Out to your calendar, visit: 


Contact information

Members of the media should contact:

For media opportunities with the Crown, contact:

Public information

  • Telephone enquiry line: 0800 092 7500 or 0131 348 5395 (Gàidhlig)
  • Text 07786 209 888
  • Ask a question online through live chat
  • We also welcome calls using the Text Relay service or in British Sign Language through contactSCOTLAND-BSL

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