Edinburgh man adds his own sparkle to the opening of the Scottish Parliament

25/06/2007

Edinburgh-born Bill Jameson, who has been cleaning the Crown of Scotland for more than 50 years, will finally get to see the fruits of his labour.

The Scottish Parliament is giving Mr Jameson a front row seat to see the crown in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen, something he has never witnessed since starting the job in 1954.

Mr Jameson will take up a seat with his daughter in the chamber gallery for Her Majesty’s address to mark the Third Session of the Scottish Parliament on Saturday 30 June.

He will be joined in the gallery by other guests, ranging from Sir Sean Connery to the Speaker of Icelandic Parliament.

Mr Jameson said:

"I will be proud to see the crown I know so well sitting in the Parliament, especially as it so rarely leaves the castle. I don’t think anybody has handled the crown as much as I have in recent years. It will be nice to see it in use.”

Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP said:

"This day is about giving all the people of Scotland a chance to take part in celebrating our culture. Since Bill has played such an important role in preserving a valuable piece of our heritage, it is a privilege that he is able to join us.

"Like the ‘local heroes’ nominated by MSPs, Bill has worked behind the scenes taking Scotland into the 21st century. Our Parliament is proud to place these people at the centre stage of our day, publicly acknowledging their work during this historic event.”

The Crown of Scotland with a military escort of two half companies from the Scots Guard and the 1st Pipes and Drums will leave Edinburgh Castle and process down the Royal Mile in the care of the Duke of Hamilton before being placed in the main debating chamber of the Parliament.

The crown is part of the Honours of Scotland, which are the oldest royal regalia in the UK, and are the symbols of sovereignty in Scotland. The crown played an important role during ceremonies such as the opening of the Scottish Parliament and prior to the historic 1999 ceremony had not been used since 1953.

Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh will join MSPs and guests in the debating chamber for the opening address to the Parliament.

This ceremony will be relayed to a large screen to allow people in the landscaped gardens to see the speeches from the Presiding Officer, the First Minister and The Queen.

At the end of the ceremony, MSPs will take up their place in the ‘Riding’. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will be accompanied by the Presiding Officer and the First Minister to watch the Riding as it progresses down the Royal Mile.

The 1,200 strong ‘Riding’ is based on the traditional procession marking the opening of Parliament, which signified that the Parliament was sitting and occurred at each meeting of Parliament up until the Treaty of Union in 1707.

The Riding will set off from Market Street at 11am, make its way through the historic Canongate and culminate at the Scottish Parliament’s landscaped gardens at the foot of the Royal Mile.

Entertainment will continue in the afternoon at the Picnic at the Parliament event in the Parliament’s landscaped gardens.

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