Ceremonial Duties

The Royal Company is perhaps best known for its role in State Ceremonial in Scotland.

The Royal Company may expect to undertake the duties listed below.

The Accession and Coronation of The Monarch

A detachment of the Royal Company will likely be on parade at Edinburgh’s Mercat Cross when the Lord Lyon reads the Proclamation of Accession. Coronations at Westminster Abbey will include the Captain-General in his role as Gold Stick for Scotland.

State Funerals

Only the Sovereign is accorded a state funeral in the United Kingdom. However, in 2002, four Archers took guard at the lying-in-state of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in Westminster Hall.

Investitures

The Royal Company is invariably on duty for Investitures in late June or early July at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. A detachment of ten Archers, under the command of an Officer, is positioned on the North Wall while another two Archers support the two Gentlemen Ushers in their duties.

Ceremony for The Knights of The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle

The Royal Company provides a Guard of Honour of 48 Archers as well as a Colour Party outside St Giles’s Cathedral in Parliament Square for the biennial Service for The Knights of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle in late June or early July. The Inside Party typically consists of ten Archers under the command of an Officer, two Processional Archers and eight Archers acting as Ushers.

State Visits

Since the State Visit of HM King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in 1975, from time to time, the Royal Company provides a Guard of Honour at the Palace of Holyroodhouse for State Visits to Scotland.

 

The Royal Garden Party

The Royal Company’s most regular duty is to be in attendance at Her Majesty’s annual Garden Party on the lawns of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in late June or early July. The Queen welcomes around 8,000 people from all walks of Scottish life to spend a relaxed afternoon in the grounds of the Palace. Around 80 Archers form avenues down which The Queen and members of The Royal Family proceed to the ‘Grand Circle’ while guests, chosen at random, are presented to them by the Captain-General and the President of Council. Some 60 Archers form the ‘Grand Circle’ and provide a detachment for the Tea Tent. Other members of The Royal Company are positioned around the Garden in order to assist in hosting guests.

 

Other Ceremonial Occasions

The Scottish Parliament

Whenever The Queen visits the Scottish Parliament, the Captain-General is in attendance. The Royal Company provides a Guard of Honour, a Body Guard at Queensberry House and an Escort to the Crown of Scotland which is carried by the Duke of Hamilton, Hereditary Bearer of The Crown of Scotland.

The General Assembly of The Church of Scotland  

The Royal Company first took part in May 2019 in the arrival ceremony of the Lord High Commissioner at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and, a few days later, the arrival ceremony of the Lord High Commissioner for the Opening of the General Assembly at New College, Edinburgh. The Royal Company will take part in both ceremonies in future years. 

Presentation of Colours        

From time to time, the Royal Company are on duty for the presentation of new Colours (or Standards for Scotland’s cavalry) to Scottish regiments.

Other Duties

Other duties arise as occasion demands. For example, the Royal Company formed Guards of Honour for The Queen’s visit to Abbotsford House on 3 July 2013 and to the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle on 3 July 2014. Guards of Honour were also found when the Queen opened the Borders Railway on 9 September 2015 and the Queensferry Crossing on 4 September 2017. Exactly 53 years to the day, a detachment of Archers had been on parade when The Queen opened the Forth Road Bridge in 1964.