The Prince was hosted by the Governor of Edinburgh Castle, Major General Alastair Bruce of Crionaich and was presented the Keys by the Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, Frank Ross.
HRH Prince William is in Scotland acting on the Queen’s behalf as the Lord High Commissioner. He will mark the start of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, which opens on Saturday and continues for the week.
The Ceremony of the Keys takes place every time the Queen (or her official representative) makes an official visit to Edinburgh. The representative is offered the Keys to the City of Edinburgh by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh and the Ceremonial troops are inspected. This usually takes place at least twice a year, during the start of the General Assembly and at the start of Holyrood or Royal week at the end of June.
To mark this occasion, soldiers from the 5th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (5 SCOTS), the SCOTS Band and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (SCOTS DG) Pipes & Drums were paraded for The Prince. Owing the COVID restrictions, there were reduced numbers on parade.
Prince William took the time to inspect the soldiers and talked to a number of them, despite the unpleasant weather. Soldiers from Edinburgh based, 5 SCOTS have recently been engaged in supporting the fight against COVID in Scotland. They operated a number of Mobile Testing Units as part of Operation RESCRIPT, the Armed Forces operation supporting the NHS & NHS Scotland. As part of this they performed 21,547 tests across 46 different locations from May to August last year.
The Royal Regiment of Scotland has a long-standing relationship with the Royal family dating back hundreds of years. Since the amalgamation of the predecessor Regiments in 2006 into the Royal Regiment of Scotland, Her Majesty the Queen has been the Colonel in Chief of the Regiment and is also the Royal Colonel of the 5th Battalion, known as Balaklava Company. Balaklava Company perform much of the Ceremonial activity in Scotland, included the Ceremony of the Keys and have performed the majority of the Royal Guard during Her Majesty the Queen’s annual visits to Balmoral Castle.