The King meets ‘queen Scotland’ on his first Scottish visit post-coronation

The King meets ‘queen Scotland’ on his first Scottish visit post-coronation
The King met Bo’ness Fair Queen Lexi Scotland on the visit (Andrew Milligan/PA)
PA Wire/PA Images - Andrew Milligan

The King met “queen Scotland” as he arrived for his first public engagement in Scotland since his coronation.

Charles was welcomed by crowds as he arrived at Kinneil House in Bo’ness, Falkirk – the historic home of the dukes of Hamilton – wearing a kilt.

Among those he greeted was Bo’ness Fair Queen, Lexi Scotland, who was wearing her ceremonial robes and a crown.

The pair shook hands as the King congratulated Lexi on her achievement, while Lexi and the crowd welcomed him to Kinneil House.

Lexi said it is “exciting” to have been crowned the newest Bo’ness queen, adding she enjoyed meeting the King and his entourage.

She said: “I was quite nervous, but I was also excited to meet him.”

Lexi was joined by May Garrow, 99, who was crowned the Bo’ness Queen in 1936.

The occasion marked May’s first time meeting the King.

She said: “I’ve never actually shook hands with him before. I’ll not wash that hand anymore.”

King visits Scotland for Holyrood WeekThe King during his visit to Kinneil House in Edinburgh (Andrew Milligan/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - Andrew Milligan

Charles asked May if she still owns her dress from when she was crowned the Bo’ness Queen.

May told reporters: “I’ve still got the dress. Mind you, it was white but it’s a dark creamy colour now. I don’t think I’d get into it now!”

May turns 100 on February 24, and is excited to receive her message from the King.

May commented that it was “a nice day”, adding she enjoyed the King’s company and said: “He makes things easy for you to talk.”

Speaking of Lexi, she added: “She’s had a nice day, and when she’s my age she’ll come back too.”

Maria Ford plays a vital role in organising the fair, and says they have tried for a royal visit for many years.

She said: “We pushed and pushed for a royal visit but we just never managed, but now everything’s came together and it’s like the last piece of the jigsaw.”

The King later met with Sustainable Thinking Scotland (STS), which operates from Kinneil House.

King visits Scotland for Holyrood WeekKing Charles meets the Bo’ness Fair Queen, Lexi Scotland, during his visit to Kinneil House (Andrew Milligan/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - Andrew Milligan

The organisation grows sustainable food which in turn is given for food parcels.

Co-director Steve McQueen said the King told him the cherries they had grown were “the biggest he’d ever seen”.

Sean Kerr, also a director, said: “I think the king sees the community benefit from all that we’re doing, whether it’s growing food, environmental or community work.

“It was great to be able to talk to him about everything and hopefully we can take it further.”

He added: “It’s really great to be able to highlight all the amazing work that all the groups we work with do we do.

“For me it’s just a thrill to be able to showcase the people we work with that do such a great job in Falkirk, and we’re glad to be a part of it.”

During his visit, the King viewed the cylinder of the engine erected by the famed Scottish engineer, James Watt.

The house and nearby James Watt Cottage were the setting for the engineer’s secret development work on the prototype steam engine in 1765-73.

The King also planted a tree to commemorate the centenary of the estate becoming a public park and meet charity representatives and beneficiaries.

The visit is the first of a series of engagements in Scotland, marking the first Holyrood Week since his coronation.

There will be a special ceremony of thanksgiving at St Giles’ Cathedral on Wednesday, where Charles will be presented with the Honours of Scotland – the nation’s crown jewels.

Each year, the monarch traditionally spends a week based at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, known as Holyrood Week or Royal Week in Scotland.

The King and Queen will be accompanied by William and Catherine, whose Scottish titles are the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay.

Later on Monday, the King took part in the Ceremony of the Keys on the palace forecourt where he is presented with the keys to the city.

Charles and Camilla are also expected to visit the Great Tapestry of Scotland, seeing a newly stitched panel dedicated to the couple.

Wednesday will be a key day during the visit with a series of events to mark the coronation.

Before the service at St Giles, there will be both a royal procession and a people’s procession along the Royal Mile.

Anti-monarchy campaign group Republic will be staging a protest along the route and said it expects a large turnout.

The organisation will also be collaborating with Scottish republican group Our Republic, which will be staging a rally outside the Scottish Parliament.

Graham Smith, Republic’s chief executive officer, said: “Everyone in the UK should have the right to choose our head of state – not be told it will be Charles.

“Charles does not represent the people of Scotland any more than he represents the rest of the UK.”

King Charles III Service of ThanksgivingAn early morning procession rehearsal takes place along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh ahead of the service of thanksgiving (Euan Cherry/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - Euan Cherry

The people’s procession will consist of about 100 people representing different aspects of Scottish life.

At the head of the column will be the Shetland pony Corporal Cruachan IV – mascot of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

The Stone of Destiny will be present at the ceremony in St Giles’ Cathedral, where the King will be presented with the Honours of Scotland.

Afterwards, there will be a gun salute at Edinburgh Castle and a flypast by the Red Arrows.

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