Prince William Joins King Charles for Royal Week in Scotland as Queen Camilla Receives Country's Highest Honor

Prince William stepped out in Scotland with King Charles and Queen Camilla to continue an ancient tradition

Published Time: 03.07.2024 - 13:31:04 Modified Time: 03.07.2024 - 13:31:04

Prince William stepped out in Scotland with King Charles and Queen Camilla to continue an ancient tradition.

On Wednesday, July 3, the Prince of Wales (who is known as the Duke of Rothesay while in Scotland) joined his father the King, the Queen, Prince Edward and Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh for the Thistle Service at St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh during Royal Week.

The Order of the Thistle is the highest order of chivalry in Scotland, and the installation service was held on the second day of the King's annual working week in Scotland dedicated to meeting local people in a celebration of culture, achievement and community.

The event was held at St. Giles' Cathedral for the installation of Queen Camilla and Prince Edward into the Order of the Thistle, joining Baroness Black of Strome, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws and Sir Geoff Palmer as new initiates. The order recognizes 16 Knights and Ladies for their contribution to national life, and appointments are awarded as a personal gift from the reigning monarch. 

It’s not known when the Order of the Thistle originated, though legend says it was founded in 809 by King Achaius and later revived under King James II in 1687. King Charles, Princess Anne, Prince William and Prince Edward are all members in addition to the group of 16 and the new appointments were announced in the past year. The Scottish honor may be especially meaningful for Prince Edward, who King Charles named the Duke of Edinburgh (which was their father Prince Philip's title) on his birthday in 2023.

King Charles, 75, is the sovereign of the Order, and inductions recognize men and women who have held public office or have contributed significantly to national life. The group is second in precedence to the Order of the Garter, the oldest and most senior Order of Chivalry in Britain, and King Charles, Queen Camilla, 76, Prince William, 42, Prince Edward, 60, and Sophie, 59, united for the annual Order of the Garter ceremony at Windsor Castle two weeks ago in June.

The Thistle Service began with a bang on July 2 as the King and Queen received a Royal Salute from a Guard of Honor formed by the Royal Company of Archers, ceremonially known as the King's "bodyguard for Scotland." A military band played the national anthem, and the King and Queen were welcomed by the Interim Moderator of St Giles’ Cathedral and officials with the Order of the Thistle. 

Induction comes with quite the regal outfit — green velvet robes, black velvet hats with white ostrich feathers and the order's -

star featuring the motto, "No one harms me with impunity" in Latin.

King Charles has the honor of installing new Knights, and the service is usually followed by a reception in the Signet Library and lunch at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the British sovereign's official royal residence while in Scotland.

The King kicked off Royal Week (which is also called Holyrood Week) in Scotland on July 2 with the Ceremony of the Keys at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where he accepted the keys to the city. Following the Order of the Thistle festivities, he and Queen Camilla will attend a celebration commemorating the 900th anniversary of the city of Edinburgh this year.

Royal Week is unusually abbreviated this year amid the general election in the U.K. on July 4, in which voters will hit the polls to elect new Members of Parliament in the House of Commons and potentially usher in a new 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." Because 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 pivotal issues it presents. 

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Last year, Scotland honored the historic coronation of King Charles with a second, separate set of events following the crowning ceremony that May.

A National Service of Thanksgiving was held at St. Giles' Cathedral with royal processions to and fro, the presentation of crown jewels and a military flypast after, much like the pageantry at the formal coronation in London on May 6. Queen Camilla, Prince William and Kate Middleton supported King Charles by attending the event.

It's unlikely that the Princess of Wales, 42, will be seen during Royal Week as she continues to privately prioritize her health while receiving cancer treatment. In a highly anticipated appearance, Princess Kate attended Trooping the Colour on June 15, though palace aides emphasized that her presence at the event did not signify an official return to royal work.

King Charles is also undergoing cancer treatment and resumed public-facing royal duties in late April.

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