King Charles Kicks Off Abbreviated Royal Week in Scotland with Ancient Tradition Before Major U.K. Election

King Charles is accepting the keys to Edinburgh, Scotland ahead of a critical election in the U

Published Time: 02.07.2024 - 17:31:17 Modified Time: 02.07.2024 - 17:31:17

King Charles is accepting the keys to Edinburgh, Scotland ahead of a critical election in the U.K. later this week.

The King, 75, kicked off Royal Week in Scotland on July 2 by participating in the Ceremony of the Keys in the gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse. King Charles, who is continuing cancer treatment, received a Royal Salute and inspected the Balaklava Company, 5 SCOTS Guard of Honour.

Each summer, the British monarch spends a working week in Scotland to meet people from all walks of life with an itinerary celebrating Scottish culture, achievement and community. The dedicated trip known as "Royal Week" or "Holyrood Week" always starts at the Palace of Holyroodhouse with the Ceremony of the Keys, where the Lord Provost welcomes the monarch to Edinburgh, "your ancient and hereditary kingdom of Scotland," and offers the keys to the city. The presentation was especially meaningful this year as the city celebrates its 900th anniversary. 

While Royal Week is being commemorated during its usual timeline, late June to early July, this year's festivities are shortened by the general election in the U.K. on July 4. This Thursday, voters will hit the polls for the first time in over four years to elect new Members of Parliament in the House of Commons. The party that wins the most seats usually forms the new government, and its leader becomes the prime minister. When Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called for the surprise general election in late May, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said the royal family would postpone engagements "which may appear to divert attention or distract from the election campaign."

As members of the British royal family are constitutionally non-political, they traditionally leave the public space during campaigns to keep the public’s attention on the election and the key issues it presents. However, the political activity doesn’t negate all outings, and the King's birthday parade, Trooping the Colour, was held in traditional festive splendo -

r on June 15.

While the royals won't be seen on July 4, the palace previously announced that Royal Week programming would be held on July 2 and 3. Following the Ceremony of the Keys kickoff on July 2, King Charles hosted an investiture at the Palace of Holyroodhouse while Queen Camilla held a celebration for those working across Scotland to promote literacy, one of her key causes.

Later in the day, the King and Queen will host a garden party at the palace with Prince Edward and Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh, before reconvening with Prince William for the Order of the Thistle Service at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh on July 3. The King and Queen, 76, will also step out separately for a celebration marking the 900th anniversary of the city of Edinburgh.

Two royals unlikely to be seen this week are Princess Anne and Kate Middleton. The Princess Royal, 73, is continuing to recover at home after sustaining a concussion and minor injuries in a horse-related incident on June 23, while the Princess of Wales, 42, continues to privately prioritize her health while receiving cancer treatment, following a highly anticipated appearance at Trooping the Colour in June.

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While this year's Royal Week in Scotland is scaled down, last year's event included a special celebration to mark King Charles' coronation. Although King Charles and Queen Camilla were crowned at Westminster Abbey in London on May 6, 2023, a special procession and a church service were held in Edinburgh on July 5.

King Charles, Queen Camilla, Prince William and Princess Kate attended the National Service of Thanksgiving at St. Giles’ Cathedral, where the monarch was presented with theHonours of Scotland, a historic suite of royal regalia including the crown of King James V of Scotland, a sceptre and a sword of state.

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