Fascinating facts about the Palace of Holyroodhouse


Image: Wikimedia Commons

A country, state, or region which has a monarch system of leadership mostly has a palace. Palaces stand tall and majestic, they usually are very old, maybe hundreds of years old, with history, culture, and beauty attached to it. They play a significant role in the operations of that country and this is one of those!

The Holyroodhouse palace is the official home of Queen Elizabeth II in Scotland. This is the place where Her Majesty the Queen stays whenever she is in Scotland. The Palace of Holyroodhouse, also known as Holyrood also known as ‘Holy Cross’ is quite an old piece of history. It has been a palace since the 16th Century, but it has been in existence since the 12th century. It was initially built to serve as a monastery, by Kind David I of Scotland in 1128. 

 The palace is located at the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. Did you know that you can visit this magnificent palace at any time of the year? If you are in the area and want to have some fun in Scotland learning new things, history about the palace, the stories, the people who live there, and just exploration, then the Holyroodmuseum is a good place! You might also want to hear in-depth stories about the famous healer Agnes Sampson who is said to have been labeled a witch and was tried, and whose story did not end well! Well, it is said his ghost is around somewhere, but you will just have to go to hear the story!

There are very many facts about this palace which may or may not be important to you, like the fact that the palace has 51 clocks and 387 windows! Is that an interesting fact, or not? And then there are these other five educative and intriguing facts about the Holyroodhouse. Read on!

1. Home of the monarchs since the 16th century

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The queen spends some time there from time to time, dispensing of her royal duties. The Palace Holyroodhouse is the Queen’s official residence in Scotland. The palace is where the monarchs have been staying for centuries whenever they are in Scotland and are known to have hosted the likes of Mary Queen of Scots, King George V, David I, and even Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen spends the first week of summer at the palace entertaining, holding meetings and the palace is turned into a beehive of activities. This is called ‘The Holyrood Week’. At the moment, the palace is not a permanent residence for the monarchs and the last monarch who lived there permanently was Charles IV of Scotland in 1603. It was Queen Victoria who started the tradition of monarchs using the palace as their official residence during their visits to Scotland, in 1850. There is also a tradition called The Ceremony of the Keys, which takes place every time a monarch visits the palace, and the ceremony has been in existence since 1822!

2. A palace of transformations

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The Holyroodhouse Palace has come a very long way, from being a humble monastery to the magnificent home of kings and queens it is today! The monastery was expanded in 1501 when King James IV built a palace for himself near the monastery where he stayed with his wife Margaret Tudor; the palace was again extended between 1528 and 1532 and a new tower added in 1535. In 1633, during the coronation of Charles I, major renovations were done. In the period of the 1670’s Sir William Brice, an architect was tasked with the job of rebuilding the palace by Charles II. It was during this time that the Royal Apartments were added as well as many other sections. The palace was also occupied by Oliver Cromwell’s soldiers during the Civil War and they destroyed some sections of it in a fire and had to be renovated after that.

3. Exciting contents

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For a palace that has been hosting monarchs for centuries, the Holyrood Palace is a museum of sorts in itself. It is expected, anyway and some of the most exciting things that are found there include furniture and paintings that date back years! The over ten-acre property has over 280 rooms! There are beautiful gardens, amazing rooms, each with a function and a story, like the Royal Dining Room, The Landing of the Great Stair, The Throne Room, the famous Great Gallery! The Queen’s formal living room the West Drawing Room is also interestingly paneled with oak wood! Some of the most interesting contents of the palace will be the silverware which King George V was given as gifts in 1936 during his silver jubilee celebrations. These items are so many; there are over 3,000 pieces and guests do not share even the salt and pepper shake! There is enough for everyone!

4. A palace of drama

Mary Queen of Scots
Image: Wikimedia Commons

One of the most notable monarchs was Mary the Queen of Scots. A lot of the things in her life happened at this palace. She married her two husbands at the Holyroodhouse and her secretary David Rizzio. it is said that David was killed at the palace by her then-husband Lord Darnley who might not have been very happy with the effect that David had on the queen!

5. A palace of many rooms

Image: Wikiwand

This palace has over 280 rooms! That is such a big space! Just like any other property that is used by monarchs or leaders, the Holyroodhouse Palace has some sections in it that are very interesting and fascinating and which serve different purposes. The Queen’s Gallery is home to some of the most beautiful paintings around! The Queen’s Gallery was opened in 2002 and is essentially the newest area of the palace.

Even though the place is huge and has over 100 workers, no one lives there, except for the times when the queen is around. The palace also has a huge garden, which usually hosts up to 8,000 people during the annual Garden Party, the biggest event done annually at the palace!