UK

Queen marks 20 years of the Scottish Parliament

The queen in 2016 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Queen last attended the opening ceremony of the Scottish Parliament in 2016

The Queen is to address the Scottish Parliament as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations.

The ceremony will take place almost two decades to the day since the parliament officially assumed its legal powers.

The Queen, who will be accompanied by Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay, will formally address MSPs in the Parliament’s Debating Chamber.

The ceremony will also feature performances celebrating the best of Scottish music and culture.

Young people who were born on the day the devolved parliament was convened on 1 July 1999 – will also join the events.

The so-called “1 July babies” were an integral part of the 10th anniversary celebrations in 2009.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Queen sat next to First Minister Donald Dewar at the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999

The parliament was reconvened two years after Scotland voted overwhelmingly for devolution in a referendum in 1997.

It initially sat at the General Assembly in Edinburgh before moving to its £431m purpose-built home at Holyrood in 2004.

The Queen was last in the landmark building in July 2016, marking the opening of the fifth session of the parliament.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Queen travelled in a horse-drawn carriage on the day the parliament was opened in 1999

During the parliament’s initial opening ceremony a specially-commissioned mace was unveiled in public for the first time – a gift from the Queen recognising the parliament’s authority.

It will form part of the 20th anniversary celebrations.

The Mace and the Crown of Scotland will be carried into the debating chamber ahead of the Queen’s address to MSPs.

Image copyright WPA Pool
Image caption The Queen met First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the opening of the fifth sessions of the parliament in July 2016

Her address will be followed by speeches from the party leaders, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

She is the sixth person to hold the office since 1999. The first person to become first minister was Donald Dewar, who died after less than two years in the post.

Following the ceremonial proceedings in the debating chamber, the Queen and Prince Charles will attend a reception in the main hall.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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