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  1. Her Majesty the Queen officially opens the Scottish Parliament
  2. The Edinburgh ceremony comes a week after the UK voted to leave the EU
  3. The Queen makes no direct reference to the referendum
  4. But she tells MSPs it is important to stay "calm and collected" in a "challenging world"

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Deirdre Kelly

All times stated are UK

That's all from us here at Holyrood....


That concludes our live coverage of the Royal Opening of the Scottish Parliament on 2 July 2016.

The Queen used her address to the Holyrood Chamber to acknowledge the difficulty of "staying calm and collected" in an "increasingly challenging world".

Now the ceremony is over, the parliament closes for the summer. MSPs will be back in the chamber on 4 September.

First minister meets Scotland's Makar....

The Riding is in full flow and Norse mistake....

The Queen departs Holyrood

The celebration moves outside the Scottish Parliament

The marching begins as the ceremony inside the chamber finishes.

Marchers in riding

Now it's the turn of the local heroes....

Agatha King (5) and Islelagh Shaw (11) were due to present a posy each to Her Majesty The Queen before she departs the Parliament building via the Canongate. 

Islelagh Shaw is from Dumbarton and is Labour MSP Jackie Baillie's Local Hero. 

 Agatha King is from Cupar and is Scottish Lib Dem Leader Willie Rennie's Local Hero. 

 You can see further background details on both girls on the Local Heroes webpage.

The Queen signs the visitors' book

Her Majesty's last act of the Scottish Parliament ceremony is to sign the visitors' book.

Queen signs visitors' book

MSPs now head off to watch the Riding which has set off on the Royal Mile

MSPs start leaving the chamber

Around 2,500 people will take part in the colourful, historic Riding Procession, down Edinburgh's Royal Mile. 

The Riding will be led by the Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland (SCOTS Band) and followed by community groups including Shetland Vikings; Polish, Punjabi and Highland dancers, pipe and brass bands, choirs, and martial arts organisation Yee's Hung Ga who will be manning a Chinese dragon. 

The Riding will set off from East Market Street, make its way down the Royal Mile and finish in Holyrood's landscaped grounds. 

Local Heroes nominated by their MSPs in recognition of the important work they do to help others will join the Riding as it approaches Holyrood. 

The Queen leaves the Holyrood chamber

The ceremony on the Scottish Parliament chamber and Her Majesty leaves, walking behind the gold-laden Royal Crown, containing dozens of precious stones.

The Queen

SNP MSP piper marks the Queen's departure

Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh closes this special meeting of Parliament.

Scottish Parliament Piper Stuart McMillan MSP plays The Rowan Tree to mark the Queen’s departure.


Midge Ure performs - A Man’s a Man for A’ That

Midge Ure

Midge Ure performs A Man’s a Man for A’ That as the Scottish Parliament ceremony comes to a close.

The Patron of Burnsong was born James Ure on 10 October 1953 in Cambuslang. 

The Scottish guitarist, singer, keyboard player, and songwriter enjoyed particular success in the 1970s and 1980s in bands including Slik, Thin Lizzy, The Rich Kids, Visage, and most notably as the frontman of Ultravox.  

First minister concludes calling for Scotland to play part in stronger Europe

Ms Sturgeon concludes her address to the fifth opening of the Scottish Parliament by saying: "Today, as we celebrate this new beginning, let us look forward with hope and a shared determination to work tirelessly for the good of all of Scotland’s people - and in doing so, to play our part in a stronger Europe and a better world."

Rainbow flag flies outside Holyrood building

Ms Sturgeon says: "A few weeks ago, all of Scotland – including leaders from across this Chamber – stood in solidarity with the victims of the Orlando massacre. 

"And, today, we fly the Rainbow flag outside our parliament. We do so with poignancy, but also with great pride - it is yet another vivid illustration and powerful symbol of the open and inclusive nation we are."

FM: 'We are so much stronger for the diversity that shapes us'

The first minister says Scotland includes people from Poland, Lithuania, France, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Latvia and indeed from "beyond this continent".

Ms Sturgeon says Scots are from India, Pakistan, Africa and countries across the globe, "we are all of this, and more".

"We are so much stronger for the diversity that shapes us," she adds.

FM: 'Our duty to be a voice for all the people of our country'

The first minister says: "We must always remember our duty to lead by example - with open, honest and good-spirited debate and discussion.

"Our duty to be a voice for all the people of our country."

First minister thanks the Queen

Your Majesty, first and foremost, we want to thank you most sincerely for affording us the honour of opening the fifth session of our Parliament, and for your thoughtful address.

Nicola SturgeonFirst minister

First minister says 'this is a day to come together'

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says: "Today is a day to celebrate our strength, our ambition and our unity."

Nicola Sturgeon

"This is a day to come together. A day to look forward with hope."

Welcome, in more than one language

Young people
Young people speak the word "welcome" in a number of languages

Background: Some facts on Scots Makar Jackie Kay

  • born in Edinburgh in 1961 to a Scottish mother and Nigerian father, and was adopted at birth
  • she had a happy childhood, in spite of racial bullying at school
  • the birth of her own son spurred her to trace her natural mother
Jackie Kay
  • at first Kay wanted to be an actress and attended part-time classes at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow
  • She was encouraged towards writing when a teacher sent some of her poems to Alasdair Gray, who recognised their merit
  • She studied English at the University of Stirling and then moved to London 
  • She has written poetry, fiction and plays, as well as a non-fiction work about the jazz singer Bessie Smith

'Threshold' read to the chamber

The poem Threshold, will now performed by Scots Makar Jackie Kay.

Ms Kay wrote the specially commissioned poem.

Threshold, read by makar

Meanwhile outside Holyrood.... not great weather for the Riding

Background: Some facts on poet Edwin Morgan

  • Edwin George Morgan was born on 27 April 1920 in the West End of Glasgow. 
  • he went to Glasgow University to study English literature in 1937. 
  • the Second World War then interrupted his studies and from 1940 he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps. 
  • returning to Glasgow in 1946, he graduated with first class honours the following year. 
Edwin Morgan
  • he joined the staff of the English Literature Department after turning down a scholarship to Oxford. 
  • his first book of poetry was published in 1952
  • in 1999 he became Glasgow’s first official Poet Laureate
  • he received the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry
  • in 2004, he became Scotland’s first official national poet or ‘Scots Makar’
  • he died in Glasgow on 19 August, 2010

Open the Doors!

Open the Doors!, A poem written by Edwin Morgan will now be performed by the Scottish YouthTheatre (SYT).

Young person

SYT is one of Scotland’s national youth performing arts companies and has been providing theatre arts experiences to young people in Scotland since 1977.

Young person

Young composer's music performed by Royal Scottish National Orchestra Ensemble

Music being performed
Royal Scottish National Orchestra Ensemble perform for the opening ceremony

On Friday 24 June the Peeblesshire News reported:

"Peeblesshire teenager, Tom Aitken, won the right to have his music performed at the opening of the Scottish Parliament in front of Her Majesty the Queen."

Mr Aitken's Piano Quintet No.1 will be performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Ensemble. 

The Queen extends her best wishes to Holyrood for the next session

The Queen says she will continue to follow Holyrood's progress with the closest of interests and she extends her best wishes for the next session of parliament.

Her Majesty mentions the new tax and welfare powers heading to Holyrood

The Queen says the parliament will have to implement new tax and welfare powers and she wishes the MSPs well in doing so.

The Queen says it is a pleasure to mark the opening of the parliament

The queen
Her Majesty the Queen addresses the Scottish Parliament

The Queen says it is a pleasure to be invited to mark the opening of the fifth session of the Scottish Parliament.

The presiding officer calls on the Queen to address the Scottish Parliament

Mr Macintosh concludes saying: "Government or opposition, front or backbench, each one of us has something to contribute for, as Jo Cox said in her maiden speech in the Commons – 'we have far more in common than that which divides us'.  

"My hope - like the poet’s – is still great."

"Your Majesty, can I call on you to address the Scottish Parliament."

Ken Macintosh: 'We must lead by example'

The presiding officer says: "Today outside this parliament we fly the rainbow flag of Pride – testimony to the 49 lives lost in the senseless shootings in an Orlando nightclub, and a flag which displays our solidarity with the families and communities they left behind.

"We continue to mourn the loss of our Parliamentary colleague Jo Cox and I believe it is simply not enough to condemn such atrocities.  

"We have been given the privilege of public office and we need to lead by example."

More important than ever that Holyrood finds its voice, says presiding officer

Ahead of the Queen addressing MSPs, Ken Macintosh says: "Your Majesty, the parliament before you today stands ready for the challenges that lie ahead of us. Every MSP in this chamber is proud to represent the people of Scotland."

The presiding officer says: "In these few short weeks, weeks of unprecedented political turbulence, I have already seen a real willingness to work cooperatively and collaboratively. 

"I have seen the emergence of a shared agenda to clarify the identity and role of the Scottish Parliament and a shared recognition that it is more important than ever that the parliament finds its own voice – a voice of hope, to echo Donald Dewar, a voice for the future."

Warm welcome to the Queen, from Presiding Officer

Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh extends a "particularly warm welcome to you Your Majesty – and not just because of the significant milestones you have achieved this year."

Your presence here today and the support you have continued to give the Scottish Parliament from the beginning of devolution has helped this institution develop the authority it now enjoys."

Ken MacintoshPresiding Officer

Presiding officer formally welcomes the Queen

Presiding Officer
Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh begins proceedings

The Presiding Officer opens the meeting of Parliament and formally welcomes Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

The Queen enters the chamber to a fanfare

The Queen enters Holyrood's chamber to a fanfare and preceded by the Royal Company of Archers (6) and Officers of Arms.

Opening fanfare
Opening fanfare
The mace is laid in the chamber
The mace is laid in the chamber
Queen enters the chamber
The Queen enters the chamber

Scottish Parliament's mace

Scottish Parliament mace
Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament’s Mace enters the chamber and proceeds down the right aisle towards the well of the chamber.

The Queen meets Scotland's party leaders

Leaders at Holyrood
The Queen meets Holyrood's political leaders

The Queen meets Scotland's party leaders in the Scottish Parliament's garden lobby:

  • First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
  • Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson
  • Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale
  • Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie
  • Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie

The Queen arrives at the Scottish Parliament

The Queen
The Queen is greeted at the entrance to the Scottish Parliament by Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh

Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh arrive at the Queensberry House entrance to the Scottish Parliament, Canongate, Royal Mile and are met by thhe Rt Hon the Lord Provost, Lord-Lieutenant of the City of Edinburgh and The Lady Provost.

Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh escorts The Queen and the Deputy Presiding Officers escort The Duke of Edinburgh across the courtyard to Queensberry House (followed by the Royal Household).