Palace of Holyrood
Why Holyroodhouse is a favourite Edinburgh attraction
Holyrood Palace or Holyroodhouse is the Queen's official residence in Edinburgh. It sits at the bottom of the Royal Mile, the mile long street that links it to the other royal establishment -- Edinburgh Castle. It's no surprise then that the new Scottish Parliament was built in such distinguished company.
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Founded in 1498 by James IV, Holyrood Palace has witnessed some of the most dramatic episodes in Scottish History. One famous face linked to Holyrood Palace is that of Mary Queen of Scots.
Mary Queen of Scots married the Dauphin of France (heir to the throne) at 15 and became a widow at 19. She returned to Scotland and was crowned at Holyrood Palace as the Queen of Scots. Dramatic events unfolded within the walls of Holyrood including the stabbing of her Italian secretary David Rizzio.
The apartments of Mary Queen of Scots at Holyrood including the spot where Rizzio was stabbed 57 times are open to visitors. The Palace at Holyrood is of elegant design. In the main court there is a copy of the ornamental stone fountain in Linlithgow Palace.
Holyrood Palace has known some distressful times after the Union of England and Scotland. Reconstruction had to be carried out several times and court hadn't been held at the Palace by a monarch for some 170 years before George IV had finally done so.
Holyrood Abbey is now a ruin with a history that spans 800 years. The Abbey witnessed many royal events -- weddings, births, crown ceremonies and funerals. Restored in 1758, Holyrood Abbey became a ruin once more when the stone roof collapsed due to a hurricane and has been like that ever since.
Visiting Holyrood Palace and Abbey
Holyrood Palace is closed to the public when the Queen or other members of the Royal family visit Edinburgh for several weeks in the summer -- most probably late June and early July -- but it is open the rest of the year.
Only parts of the Holyroodhouse are open to visitors, especially those with an historic interest as well as those used for various state functions.