Queen Elizabeth spoke of her and Prince Philip’s “deep and abiding affection” for Scotland, as she opened the sixth session of the Scottish Parliament on Saturday (02.10.21).
The 95-year-old British monarch was joined by her son Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall – Duke and Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland – at the grand opening in Holyrood, where she shared her and the late Duke of Edinburgh’s fondness for the country where they spent many happy years together at Balmoral castle in Aberdeenshire.
After the royal mace and the arrival of the Crown of Scotland at the debating chamber, the queen 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 held of our time here.”
It marked the first time Her Royal Highness has opened a session without her longest-serving consort, Philip, who passed away at the age of 99 in April.
Elizabeth II went on to hail the people of Scotland for their “resilience and goodwill” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said: “Today is also a day when we can celebrate those who have made an extraordinary contribution to the lives of other people in Scotland, locally or nationally during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is often said that it is the people that make a place. And there are few places where this is truer than in Scotland. As we have seen in recent times. We all know of the difficult circumstances that many people have encountered during the last 18 months. However, alongside this have been countless examples of resilience and goodwill.
“Following my grandson’s time as lord high commissioner, Prince William has told me many heartening stories that he heard first-hand of people and communities across Scotland uniting to protect and care for those who are isolated or vulnerable.”
The royal also urged the Scottish government to do their best to tackle climate change ahead of The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, which kicks off at the end of the month.
She said: “Next month, I will be attending COP26 events in Glasgow. The eyes of the world will be on the United Kingdom – and Scotland in particular – as leaders come together to address the challenges of climate change.
“There is a key role for the Scottish parliament, as with all parliaments, to help create a better, healthier future for us all, and to engage with the people they represent – especially our young people.”