Royal Family at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland

The Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn in Scotland, has been appointed as the Lord High Commissioner to represent the Queen at this year’s General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, which was postponed from last year due to the ongoing pandemic. The Duke will be in Scotland from May 21st to the 27th, with the Duchess joining in on the 24th, visiting Edinburgh and Fife, in addition to embarking on their first official joint trip to Orkney.

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The Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is the Scottish Sovereign’s personal representative to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (the Kirk), reflecting the Church’s role as the national church of Scotland and the Sovereign’s role as protector and member of that Church. The Lord High Commissioner makes opening and closing addresses to the General Assembly and reports to the Queen on its proceedings. A spokesperson for Kensington Palace said:

The Duke is honoured to be fulfilling the role of Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland this year. Both he and The Duchess are very much looking forward to spending time in Scotland, hearing from a wide range of people on the issues they care about, and celebrating individuals who have gone above and beyond to support their communities over the past year”.

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After centuries of having been represented by members of the Scottish Aristocracy, in 1929, the Duke of York, the future King George VI known as the Earl of Inverness in Scotland, was appointed the Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and was joined by the Duchess for the duration of his duties. In 1949, his brother, Prince Henry, the Duke of Gloucester, known as Lord Culloden in Scotland, represented the aforementioned King George VI as Lord High Commissioner, and also served as Lord High Commissioner for his niece, Queen Elizabeth II, from 1961 to 1963.

It wasn’t until 1969, when the Queen (wearing her Brazilian Aquamarine Tiara), joined by the Duke of Edinburgh (in the Order of the Thistle) and Princess Anne, presides over the Opening of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in the Church Assembly Hall at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, riding in the Scottish State Coach from the Palace of Holyroodhouse, more HERE.

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In 1977, the Queen (wearing Queen Alexandra’s Kokoshnik Tiara and the Coronation Necklace and Earrings) presided over the Opening of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in the Church Assembly Hall of St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, while on a visit to Scotland to celebrate her Silver Jubilee, more HERE.

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The Queen (wearing Cullinan V Brooch) was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh for the Opening of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in the Church Assembly Hall of St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh in 2002, while on a visit to Scotland to celebrate her Golden Jubilee.

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The Queen has attended several other ceremonial events with the Church of Scotland, beginning with the Service of Dedication at St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh in June 1953, three weeks after the Coronation, symbolizing the Queen’s relationship with the Church. In 1960, she also attended a special Service marking the 400th Anniversary of the Reformation of Scotland.

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More members of the Royal Family have also been appointed to the role of Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The Prince of Wales, known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, was Lord High Commissioner in 2000. The Princess Royal has been Lord High Commissioner twice, in 1996 and 2017, while the Duke of York, known as the Earl of Inverness, was Lord High Commissioner in 2007 and the Earl of Wessex in 2014.

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UPDATE | The Duke of Cambridge / Earl of Strathearn (wearing the Star of the Order of the Thistle) gave a speech in his role as the Lord High Commissioner at the Opening Ceremony of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in the Church Assembly Hall of St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh. The General Assembly is a significant annual event in the Church of Scotland calendar, which examines the work and laws of the Church and makes decisions that affect its future.

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