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I find the history of Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh a fascinating one. 

Holyrood Abbey was founded on the site in 1128 by David I, King of Scotland, and the palace was built in various stages right beside. 

Holyrood is now an imposing ruin next to the palace which is the official royal residence in Edinburgh.

Standing at the opposite end of the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace was built with an inner quadrangle, in the French style, and contains a chapel, gallery, royal apartments and a great hall.

Its history is wonderfully rich, one of its most notable residents being Mary Queen of Scots.  Married at just 15 and widowed at 19, Mary returned to Scotland and was crowned at Holyrood Palace. 

Among the many interesting things to see are the wooden ceilings in Mary’s quarters which date back to when she lived there.  The walls on this, the northern side, were initially built with a view to defense and are very thick, while on the opposite side, despite the external symmetry and similarity, they are much thinner and were built at a later stage.

Members of the public can  visit the infamous north turret, where on 9 March 1565, Mary’s Italian secretary David Rizzio was murdered by her jealous second husband Lord Darnley. 

It was reported at the time that the poor Rizzio was stabbed an astounding 57 times, in Mary’s presence….a tragic and gruesome tale.  Visitors to the palace since that time have claimed to see blood stains on the floor where it happened.

Another interesting occupant was Bonnie Prince Charlie – the palace served as his Head Quarters during the 1745 uprising.

The palace is open for most of the year, but is closed when the Queen and members of the Royal family are visiting. 

If you are planning a stay in Edinburgh it is well worth a visit.  For accommodation in Edinburgh visit www.edinburghselfcatering.org.

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Anyone who has seen the excellent History of Scotland series on TV might be interested to use this audio walk provided by the BBC and the Open University.

You can simply download it as a podcast and listen to  it as you follow the walk

Holyrood Palace

The subject of the walk is Mary Queen of Scots. It  starts just 5 minutes from the apartment, by Holyrood Palace and proceeds up the Royal Mile.

You can find a link to the walk on the Edinburgh Activities page of our site at www.edinburghselfcatering.org

There you can also find details of a fantastic free guided walk around Holyrood park which is organised by the park rangers every Wednesday afternoon.

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