Queen addresses ‘trying period’ as she opens Holyrood without Philip in historic first

Queen addresses 'trying period' as she opens Holyrood without Philip in historic first

The Queen headed to Holyrood this morning to take part in the opening of the Scottish Parliament. This ceremony was particularly important as it focused on celebrating local heroes who have walked the extra mile to help their community during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

But it was also poignant for the Queen, as today marks her first opening of Holyrood without Prince Philip at her side.

Speaking ahead of Her Majesty’s speech, Sky News’ Rhiannon Mills noted: “The Queen has attended every opening ceremony since 1999.

“This is the sixth session she will play a part in today.

“And I think for the 95-year-old monarch it will be wonderful to see that after 18 months where Covid has disrupted so much of the official work that she carries out today again we will see some of the pomp and ceremony you would expect for a similar event. 

“She will be accompanied today by Prince Charles and Camilla, known here in Scotland as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay.

“On previous occasions, of course, she was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh, so I suspect there will be a poignancy to the fact that her husband, who passed away in April, is not at her side today.” 

Indeed, the monarch mentioned her beloved husband Prince Philip, who died on April 9 at Windsor Castle, during her speech. 

The Queen addressed MSPs, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone with a speech focused on the response to the pandemic, unity within Holyrood’s debate chamber and her love for Scotland.  

READ MORE: Royal wedding: Ceremony ‘like historical reenactment’

While speaking about her affection for the nation, she briefly recalled spending her summers at Balmoral with the late Duke. 

She said: “I have spoken before of my deep and abiding affection for this wonderful country and of the many happy memories Prince Philip and I always had of our time here.” 

For more than 70 years, the Queen and Prince Philip have spent several months during their summers together at Balmoral Castle. 

At Balmoral they would host guests and attend local events, including the Braemar Gathering.

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And they spent a more relaxed time together, free of most of the royal protocol in use at Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace.

In Scotland, the Duke of Edinburgh was known to handle the barbeque and while the Queen would do the washing up.

In the speech, Her Majesty also acknowledged how the coronavirus pandemic has been “trying” for the country.

After expressing her delight at being in Edinburgh, she congratulated the Scottish Government “for being able to mark this new session of Parliament in a safe and welcoming manner during what has been a very trying period”.

In her speech, the monarch also called the Scottish Parliament for unity, urging MSPs to work together for Scotland. 

She said: “Members of the Scottish Parliament, as we all step out from adverse and uncertain times, occasions such as this today provide an opportunity for hope and optimism.

“Marking this new session does indeed bring a sense of beginning and renewal.

“The Scottish Parliament has been at the heart of Scotland’s response to the pandemic, with people across this country looking for leadership and stewardship. 

“And I hope you will remain at the forefront as we move towards a phase of recovery.

“While some of you will have differences of opinion, I trust you will continue to work together.” 

She then encouraged MSPs to “draw inspiration from the founding principles of wisdom, justice, compassion and integrity”. 

Her Majesty added: “These words are a reminder of your responsibility to the people of Scotland and in the years ahead I hope you can reaffirm their importance to everything you do as a member of this parliament.” 

Read more here Daily Express :: Royal Feed

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