May 2

Our first day in Scotland led us to some of the most iconic attractions in Edinburgh. First we toured the grounds of Edinburgh Castle, where we were able to view the crown jewels, see the stone of destiny, learn about our family's crests and coats of arms, and even experience where prisoners were kept.

Edinburgh Castle 

 Battles and sieges were fought over ownership of the castle, royalty lived and died within its walls, and countless generations have been and inspired by it. The Scots and English struggled for control of the castle during the Wars of Independence. In 1314 it was recaptured from the English in a daring night raid led by Thomas Randolph, nephew of King Robert the Bruce.The castle has sheltered many Scottish monarchs. They include Queen Margaret, who died here in 1093, and Mary Queen of Scots, who gave birth to James VI in the Royal Palace in 1566. In 1996, the Stone of Destiny, on which kings were enthroned for centuries, was returned to Scotland. It is now displayed in the Crown Room. 

In the 1600s, the castle became a military base. Some buildings were rebuilt and new ones were raised to house a huge garrison - and provide a secure jail for prisoners of war.
The military presence remains unbroken, but over the last 200 years the castle has become a national icon. It is now Scotland's leading tourist attraction, and a key element of the Edinburgh World Heritage Site.
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After Edinburgh Castle, we ventured to the other end of The Royal Mile where we saw the Palace and the Queen's Gallery. Here we were able to see historical parts of the castle and view rare pieces of gold the Queen has in her collection.

Palace of Holyroodhouse 

Founded as a monastery in 1128, the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh is The Queen's official residence in Scotland. Situated at the end of the Royal Mile, the Palace of Holyroodhouse is closely associated with Scotland's turbulent past, including Mary, Queen of Scots, who lived here between 1561 and 1567. Successive kings and queens have made the Palace of Holyroodhouse the premier royal residence in Scotland. 

Today, the Palace is the setting for State ceremonies and official entertaining. During The Queen's Holyrood week, which usually runs from the end of June to the beginning of July, Her Majesty carries out a wide range of official engagements in Scotland.

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