The Queen praises ‘wonderful’ Scotland as she addresses Holyrood

Queen Elizabeth II said it had been a ‘pleasure’ to watch the ‘wonderful country’ of Scotland ‘grow and prosper’ as she addressed MSPs at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh today to mark Hollyrood’s 20th anniversary celebrations.

The Prince of Wales, who holds the title of the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, accompanied his mother in the debating chamber and will attend a reception in the Parliament’s main hall afterwards to sign the visitors book.

The ceremony is taking place almost 20 years to the day since the Parliament officially assumed its legal powers on July 1, 1999 following devolution.

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Queen Elizabeth II is greeted by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as she arrives at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh ahead of giving a speech to MSPs in the Holyrood chamber during a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of devolution

Queen Elizabeth II is greeted by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as she arrives at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh ahead of giving a speech to MSPs in the Holyrood chamber during a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of devolution

Queen Elizabeth II is greeted by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as she arrives at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh ahead of giving a speech to MSPs in the Holyrood chamber during a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of devolution

Queen Elizabeth II is greeted by Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament Ken Macintosh as she arrives at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh ahead of giving a speech to MSPs in the Holyrood chamber during a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of devolution

Queen Elizabeth II is greeted by Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament Ken Macintosh as she arrives at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh ahead of giving a speech to MSPs in the Holyrood chamber during a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of devolution

Queen Elizabeth II is greeted by Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament Ken Macintosh as she arrives at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh ahead of giving a speech to MSPs in the Holyrood chamber during a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of devolution

Queen Elizabeth II shakes hands with Scottish Deputy Presiding Officer Christine Graham as she attends a ceremony to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland, 29 June 2019. The ceremony took place almost two decades to the day since the Scottish Parliament officially assumed its legal powers. EPA/DUNCAN MCGLYNN / POOL EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

Queen Elizabeth II shakes hands with Scottish Deputy Presiding Officer Christine Graham as she attends a ceremony to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland, 29 June 2019. The ceremony took place almost two decades to the day since the Scottish Parliament officially assumed its legal powers. EPA/DUNCAN MCGLYNN / POOL EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

Queen Elizabeth II shakes hands with Scottish Deputy Presiding Officer Christine Grahame as she arrives at around 11.00am today

Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by Prince Charles, who is known as the Duke of Rothesay when in Scotland, attends a ceremony to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Scottish Parliament today in Edinburgh

Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by Prince Charles, who is known as the Duke of Rothesay when in Scotland, attends a ceremony to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Scottish Parliament today in Edinburgh

Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by Prince Charles, who is known as the Duke of Rothesay when in Scotland, attends a ceremony to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Scottish Parliament today in Edinburgh

Wearing royal blue the queen stands in the chamber of the Scottish parliament preparing to make a speech

Wearing royal blue the queen stands in the chamber of the Scottish parliament preparing to make a speech

Wearing royal blue the queen stands in the chamber of the Scottish parliament preparing to make a speech

The Prince of Wales, who holds the title of the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, is accompanying his mother as she makes a speech to MSPs in the debating chamber

The Prince of Wales, who holds the title of the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, is accompanying his mother as she makes a speech to MSPs in the debating chamber

The Prince of Wales, who holds the title of the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, is accompanying his mother as she makes a speech to MSPs in the debating chamber

Queen Elizabeth II, alongside Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament Ken Macintosh and the Duke of Rothesay, giving a speech to MSPs

Queen Elizabeth II, alongside Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament Ken Macintosh and the Duke of Rothesay, giving a speech to MSPs

Queen Elizabeth II, alongside Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament Ken Macintosh and the Duke of Rothesay, giving a speech to MSPs

Queen Elizabeth II addressed the chamber: ‘We fondly remember that proud day when new members gathered in the Assembly Hall to celebrate Scotland’s first parliament in 300 years. 

‘I have noted on previous occasions my great affection for Scotland, and the many happy and personal connections I enjoy with this wonderful country.

‘It has been with great pleasure that over the years I have watched Scotland grow and prosper, and have been with you at each stage of your parliamentary life, including on landmark occasions such as today.

‘Twenty years on, this chamber continues to be at the centre of Scottish public life, as an important forum to engage and unite diverse communities and also a home for passionate debate and discussion. 

‘Today, with the echo of excitement and enthusiasm I encountered twenty years ago, I extend to you all my warmest good wishes on this special anniversary, for the continuing prosperity of the people of Scotland, and for those who represent them in this remarkable Parliament.’

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (front) and Conservtive leader Ruth Davidson arrive in Scottish Parliament debating chamber

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (front) and Conservtive leader Ruth Davidson arrive in Scottish Parliament debating chamber

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (front) and Conservtive leader Ruth Davidson arrive in Scottish Parliament debating chamber

Nicola Sturgeon the Scottish First Minister looks on as the Scots Crown is delivered to parliament as Queen Elizabeth II

Nicola Sturgeon the Scottish First Minister looks on as the Scots Crown is delivered to parliament as Queen Elizabeth II

Nicola Sturgeon the Scottish First Minister looks on as the Scots Crown is delivered to parliament as Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II listens to Ken Macintosh, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, as she attends a ceremony to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Scottish Parliament

Queen Elizabeth II listens to Ken Macintosh, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, as she attends a ceremony to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Scottish Parliament

Queen Elizabeth II listens to Ken Macintosh, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, as she attends a ceremony to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Scottish Parliament

Ken Macintosh, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, appears to be making a joke that has the queen laughing

Ken Macintosh, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, appears to be making a joke that has the queen laughing

Ken Macintosh, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, appears to be making a joke that has the queen laughing

Chuckles all round: The Queen and Prince Charles are amused by Ken Macintosh. Charles last visited the Parliament in 2006 to attend a reception of the Prince's Trust.

Chuckles all round: The Queen and Prince Charles are amused by Ken Macintosh. Charles last visited the Parliament in 2006 to attend a reception of the Prince's Trust.

Chuckles all round: The Queen and Prince Charles are amused by Ken Macintosh. Charles last visited the Parliament in 2006 to attend a reception of the Prince’s Trust.

Ahead of the Queen’s arrival, the Crown of Scotland was brought in a procession from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood, carried by the Duke of Hamilton and accompanied by the Pipes and Drums of the 1st Battalion of the Scots Guards.

The royal party arrived at the Scottish Parliament at around 11am, where they were met by Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh and representatives of the five parties at Holyrood.

Some of the young people born on July 1, 1999, the date parliament officially assumed its legal powers following devolution, were also invited to join MSPs at the event.

Politicians stand as the Scots crown is carried into the chamber by Alexander Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, 16th Duke of Hamilton and the Premier Peer of Scotland, ahead of the queen

Politicians stand as the Scots crown is carried into the chamber by Alexander Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, 16th Duke of Hamilton and the Premier Peer of Scotland, ahead of the queen

Politicians stand as the Scots crown is carried into the chamber by Alexander Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, 16th Duke of Hamilton and the Premier Peer of Scotland, ahead of the queen

Stuart MacMillan MSP will play Robert Burns's A Man's A Man For A' That on the bagpipes as the Queen leaves the chamber

Stuart MacMillan MSP will play Robert Burns's A Man's A Man For A' That on the bagpipes as the Queen leaves the chamber

Stuart MacMillan MSP will play Robert Burns’s A Man’s A Man For A’ That on the bagpipes as the Queen leaves the chamber

The Queen is to make an address at the ceremony, while First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is also making a speech in response.

Ms Sturgeon tweeted earlier: ‘This morning, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the re-establishment of @ScotParl. In these two decades, the Parliament has become the democratic heart of our nation and delivered real progress. We now look towards a new decade and the next chapter in Scotland’s story.’

The chamber will also hear from Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, Scottish Labour’s Richard Leonard, Scottish Green co-convener Patrick Harvie and Liberal Democrat MSP Tavish Scott.

The speeches are being interspersed with cultural performances, including Scots Makar Jackie Kay reading her poem The Long View, written specially for the event and celebrating the changes in the 20 years since the Scottish Parliament was reconvened.

The Duke of Hamilton arrives with the Crown of Scotland at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh ahead of Queen Elizabeth II giving a speech to MSPs in the Holyrood chamber during a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of devolution, today

The Duke of Hamilton arrives with the Crown of Scotland at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh ahead of Queen Elizabeth II giving a speech to MSPs in the Holyrood chamber during a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of devolution, today

The Duke of Hamilton arrives with the Crown of Scotland at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh ahead of Queen Elizabeth II giving a speech to MSPs in the Holyrood chamber during a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of devolution, today

The Queen's last speech to MSPs took place on July 2 2016 as part of celebrations marking the opening of the fifth session of the Parliament

The Queen's last speech to MSPs took place on July 2 2016 as part of celebrations marking the opening of the fifth session of the Parliament

The Queen’s last speech to MSPs took place on July 2 2016 as part of celebrations marking the opening of the fifth session of the Parliament

The ceremony took place almost two decades to the day since the Scottish Parliament officially assumed its legal powers

The ceremony took place almost two decades to the day since the Scottish Parliament officially assumed its legal powers

The ceremony took place almost two decades to the day since the Scottish Parliament officially assumed its legal powers

The Queen was also presented with the Scottish Crown at the official opening of the Scottish Parliament in July 1999

The Queen was also presented with the Scottish Crown at the official opening of the Scottish Parliament in July 1999

 The Queen was also presented with the Scottish Crown at the official opening of the Scottish Parliament in July 1999 

The Duke of Hamilton carries the Crown of Scotland into the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh ahead of Queen Elizabeth II

The Duke of Hamilton carries the Crown of Scotland into the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh ahead of Queen Elizabeth II

The Duke of Hamilton carries the Crown of Scotland into the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh ahead of Queen Elizabeth II

After the ceremony, the Queen and Charles will attend a reception in the Parliament's main hall and sign the visitors book

After the ceremony, the Queen and Charles will attend a reception in the Parliament's main hall and sign the visitors book

After the ceremony, the Queen and Charles will attend a reception in the Parliament’s main hall and sign the visitors book

The chamber choir of the National Youth Choir of Scotland, Scottish folk musician Phil Cunningham and members of Celtic band Capercaillie are also performing.

Stuart MacMillan MSP will play Robert Burns’s A Man’s A Man For A’ That on the bagpipes as the Queen leaves the chamber.

After the ceremony, the Queen and Charles will attend a reception in the Parliament’s main hall and sign the visitors book.

When the Queen’s visit was first announced, Mr Macintosh said: ‘Since the Scottish Parliament was established nearly two decades ago, Her Majesty the Queen has given us her unwavering support.

Kezia Dugdale and Jenny Gilruth have a photo taken inside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh ahead of Queen Elizabeth II giving a speech

Kezia Dugdale and Jenny Gilruth have a photo taken inside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh ahead of Queen Elizabeth II giving a speech

Kezia Dugdale and Jenny Gilruth have a photo taken inside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh ahead of Queen Elizabeth II giving a speech

Kezia Dugdale (left) and Jenny Gilruth seen in Scottish Parliament ahead of the speech by her Majesty

Kezia Dugdale (left) and Jenny Gilruth seen in Scottish Parliament ahead of the speech by her Majesty

Kezia Dugdale (left) and Jenny Gilruth seen in Scottish Parliament ahead of the speech by her Majesty

‘She addressed the newly elected MSPs in July 1999 as we assumed our legislative powers and she has visited Holyrood many times since. Each time with messages of friendship and support.

‘It will be a pleasure to welcome Her Majesty and HRH the Duke of Rothesay to the Parliament once again as we celebrate our 20th year.’

The visit marks the ninth time the Queen has addressed the Scottish Parliament.

Her last speech to MSPs took place on July 2 2016 as part of celebrations marking the opening of the fifth session of the Parliament.

Charles last visited the Parliament in 2006 to attend a reception of the Prince’s Trust.

The ceremony on Saturday is part of a year-long programme of events to mark two decades of devolution.

The Queen being presented with the Scottish Crown at the official opening of the Scottish Parliament in July 1999 (PA)

The Queen being presented with the Scottish Crown at the official opening of the Scottish Parliament in July 1999 (PA)

The Queen being presented with the Scottish Crown at the official opening of the Scottish Parliament in July 1999 (PA)

The Queen met with school children when she visited the Scottish Parliament to mark its 10th anniversary in 2009 (Phil Wilkinson/The Scotsman/PA)

The Queen met with school children when she visited the Scottish Parliament to mark its 10th anniversary in 2009 (Phil Wilkinson/The Scotsman/PA)

The Queen met with school children when she visited the Scottish Parliament to mark its 10th anniversary in 2009 (Phil Wilkinson/The Scotsman/PA)

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