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Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh


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The palace, now the official residence in Scotland of the reigning monarch, commenced as the guest range of Holyrood abbey (founded c.1128 by David I), which James III found more comfortable than Edinburgh castle. James IV converted it into a royal residence fit for his bride, Margaret Tudor, and they were married there in 1503. Subsequently extended by James V, but burnt by the English in 1544 and 1547, it was the scene of the brutal murder of David Rizzio, secretary of Mary, queen of Scots (1566). After the union of crowns in 1603 the palace was left in charge of a keeper, but was used briefly by Charles I before being accidentally burnt down in 1650; rebuilt by Cromwell, it was finally remodelled in the 1670s for Charles II, with exteriors in French style and interiors Anglo-Dutch, though he never saw it.

Charles Edward Stuart (‘the Young Pretender’) occupied Holyroodhouse in 1745, where he gave a celebrated ball after his victory at Prestonpans. The palace's revival began after George IV held a royal levee there, masterminded by Sir Walter Scott, in August 1822, and Victoria completed its transformation.

Subjects: British History.


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