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31 May 2022

A visit from Her Majesty

A document with the Queen's signature, dated July 6th 2000
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has visited National Trust for Scotland properties many times during her reign. In celebration of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee, we look back over her many royal visits.

The National Trust for Scotland has a long and proud association with the Royal Family, with Her Majesty the Queen Mother and then His Royal Highness the Duke of Rothesay serving as our Patrons.

Falkland Palace & Garden

Once the favourite royal retreat of Mary, Queen of Scots, Falkland Palace has seen many regal residents. Her Majesty the Queen has visited Falkland twice over the course of her reign: once in June 1958 and then again in 1991.

Fair Isle

Aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia, the Queen visited Fair Isle in October of 1960. Her Majesty visited with her family, including her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh and her cousins, Princess Alexandra and Prince Michael. They were greeted with a 21-gun salute, bouquets of island flowers by the then chair of the board of the National Trust for Scotland, the Earl of Wemyss and March, and the local community. Fair Isle is the most remote inhabited island in the UK – though perhaps you’ve heard of it for its fabulous knitwear?

Clipping from a newsletter describing the Queen’s royal visit
Clipping from a newsletter describing the Queen’s royal visit

Weaver’s Cottage

There’s a long, fine tradition of tartan and royalty. At the rustic Weaver’s Cottage, you can step back in time and learn how Scotland’s iconic fabric was created before the industrial evolution. In the gardens you can see plants that have played important roles in clothmaking, from flax to natural dyes. Queen Elizabeth visited this property in 1963 but her Majesty's link to Weaver’s Cottage goes back further. One of the last weavers in the village of Kilbarchan, William Meikle, produced cloth both for the Queen and her father King George VI. His handloom can be seen at the cottage today!

This photo was kindly provided to us by Anthony Maclaurin, of the NTS USA Foundation. The Queen visited Weaver’s Cottage with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh; by her side in this picture is Viscount Muirsheil, Lord Lieutenant of Renfrewshire. Centre is Anthony’s father, Peter Maclaurin, who was chair of the Weaver's Cottage committee at that time; Anthony's mother, Yvonne Maclaurin, is on the left.

The Queen is greeted at Weaver’s Cottage by Peter and Yvonne Maclaurin
The Queen’s visit to Weaver’s Cottage in 1963

Hugh Miller Birthplace Cottage & Museum

Hugh Miller was a fascinating renaissance man: a fossil hunter, folklorist, man of faith, stonemason, geologist, editor, writer and social justice campaigner. Miller’s birthplace museum in Cromarty is as eclectic as his life, packed with fossils, a hand carved sundial and spinning wheels! The cottage was built by Miller’s grandfather – a pirate! – and his father built a gorgeous Georgian villa next door, which is now an interactive museum. The Queen honoured the Trust with a visit to the property back in 1964.


Also in 1964, Her Majesty visited Bannockburn on the 650th anniversary of the battle and unveiled the Robert the Bruce statue which stands proud over the site to this day. She was flanked by the Royal Company of Archers, the official bodyguards of Her Majesty in Scotland.

The 650th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn - programme for the visit of Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh to the Anniversary Ceremony
Handwritten page from Bannockburn events programme

St Kilda

One of the most remote and romantic places in the National Trust for Scotland’s care, St Kilda, received the Queen for an official visit in 1971. Arriving on the Royal Yacht Britannia, Her Majesty toured Hirta (the main island in the archipelago), alongside her husband Prince Philip and her children. Here Her Majesty is shown walking with a special Trust delegation, including the Earl of Wemyss and March, among the abandoned cottages on the island which was evacuated by the islanders of their own choice in 1930.

The Queen and a Trust delegation walk among the deserted cottages on St Kilda
The Queen visits Hirta

Charlotte Square

At the turn of the millennium, the National Trust for Scotland moved into a new headquarters in Charlotte Square in Edinburgh, just across the square from the Georgian House and Bute House. The Queen and the Queen’s Mother ceremonially named the building ‘Wemyss’ after the then-President Emeritus, the Earl of Wemyss and March.

A document with the Queen's signature, dated July 6th 2000
A document with the Queen’s signature, dated July 6th 2000


In June 2009, Queen Elizabeth visited the battlefield site of Culloden. This emotive place is cared for by the National Trust for Scotland in remembrance of the battle where the 1745 Jacobite Rising ended in tragedy. Her Majesty was accompanied by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, and met with Trust staff as well as local school children. She also unveiled a plaque to commemorate the visit, which you can see in this photo!

Extract of NTS magazine describing the Queen's visit to Culloden along with a picture of her with a plaque
The Queen with her newly unveiled dedicated plaque

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