Queen to give Holyrood speech at opening of new Scottish Parliament session


The Queen is due to address MSPs at the opening of the new session of the Scottish Parliament.

The monarch, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, will attend the opening ceremony of the fifth session in the Holyrood chamber.

A full programme of events will mark the occasion, including a historic "Riding" procession down Edinburgh's Royal Mile and a family open day at the Parliament.

The day's events begin with the Crown of Scotland being carried from Edinburgh Castle down the Royal Mile to Holyrood.

On her arrival at the Parliament, the Queen will be greeted by pipers before being welcomed by Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh and Scotland's party leaders.

In addition to the Queen's address, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will also give a speech.

The ceremony will feature music from the National Youth Choir of Scotland, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Ensemble and Midge Ure.

Scotland's Makar Jackie Kay will perform her specially-commissioned piece of poetry Threshold, a celebration of democracy.

The Queen will be presented with posies by Agatha King, five, from Cupar, Fife, and Islelagh Shaw, 11, from Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, before departing the Parliament building.

The official opening will be followed by the "Riding" procession, a tradition that first took place in 1520 and continued until Parliament was abolished by the 1707 Act of Union.

It will feature more than 2,000 people from Shetland Vikings to Polish, Punjabi and Highland dancers, as well as pipe and brass bands, choirs and a Chinese dragon.

The procession will also include local heroes nominated by each MSP in recognition of their community work.

In the afternoon, the gardens and doors of the Parliament will be opened for a programme of events including a mini-Highland games, music, dance and art activities.