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5 May 2023

Marking the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III

Prince Charles and some other smartly dressed officials stand in a courtyard beside some stone steps. Prince Charles stands beside a plaque covered by a red sheet.
His Royal Highness, The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay formally opens the Dr Sheila Bain Courtyard at House of Dun in 2021 | Image: Rob McDougall
To celebrate the Coronation on 6 May, we take a look at His Majesty King Charles III’s long-standing association with the National Trust for Scotland.

Two decades ago, in 2003, we were delighted when His Royal Highness, The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay – as he was then – agreed to become the Patron of the National Trust for Scotland.

For many years, His Majesty has been a regular visitor to the properties we care for all around Scotland, and has taken a close interest in our work to protect and share these special places. He has opened new buildings, experienced our conservation projects and supported our 90th birthday celebrations in 2021, writing a welcome letter to our members in our summer magazine that year. Most recently, he visited Haddo Estate, in Aberdeenshire, to see for himself the devastation caused to woodland by Storm Arwen and learn about the recovery operation.

Chair of the National Trust for Scotland Sir Mark Jones and Chief Executive Philip Long OBE said: ‘On behalf of our charity, we congratulate Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla on their coronation on 6 May 2023, and send them our warmest wishes for the years ahead.

‘As our Patron since 2003, the former Duke of Rothesay has been a very welcome and engaged visitor to the Trust’s properties over more than five decades, from St Kilda in 1971 to House of Dun and Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in 2021.

‘It’s been an honour and pleasure to host His Majesty at those and other places, and to see at close hand his commitment to conserving Scotland’s special places and their stories.’

“His Majesty’s decades-long work to protect and speak up for nature, beauty and heritage has had global influence, and we are proud that he shares our passion for the treasures under our care.”
Sir Mark Jones and Philip Long OBE
Chair of the National Trust for Scotland and Chief Executive of the National Trust for Scotland

To mark the coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla, we take a look at just a few of their visits to our places.

St Kilda, 1971

In August 1971, the former Duke of Rothesay visited St Kilda in the Outer Hebrides with his family on the Royal Yacht Britannia. The then-President of the Trust, the Earl of Wemyss, led a tour of Village Bay. They visited the church and other buildings and also met members of the work party. Later in the day, they went to the top of Conachair, the high point of Hirta, to admire the many seabirds on the cliffs. They concluded their visit with a cruise around the other islands and sea stacs in the archipelago.

A black and white photograph of the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and other younger members of the royal family on St Kilda. Prince Charles stands by a stone wall, talking to a man with his back to the camera. The younger members of the party are looking at a hole in the ground with a lady carrying a trowel. The royal yacht is at anchor in the bay behind them.
Members of the Royal Family on their visit to St Kilda

Newhailes, 2002

In July 2002, the former Duke of Rothesay unveiled a plaque to open Newhailes, near Edinburgh. His Royal Highness enjoyed a tour of the house, spoke with some of the staff and presented one of our volunteers with a gift to celebrate his 3,000 hours of voluntary service at the property. His tour ran over due to his interest in the house’s special conservation philosophy. He commented: ‘What makes this house so fascinating is that it “fell asleep” for so long and remained relatively untouched’.

A snippet from a magazine, featuring a story about the then Prince Charles opening Newhailes House. The photo shows Charles standing beneath an old stone lintel next to a shiny brass plaque. The plaque reflects Charles's face. It has little red curtains either side.
The Newhailes visit was reported in our autumn/winter edition of the member magazine in 2002.

Craigievar Castle, 2010

In autumn 2010, the former Duke and Duchess of Rothesay met staff, volunteers and supporters at Craigievar Castle in Aberdeenshire, and cut a Forbes tartan ribbon to mark the reopening of the 17th-century stronghold after a major conservation project. The concrete-based harling, applied in the 1970s, had been carefully replaced with a traditional lime-based alternative. His Royal Highness was charmed by Craigievar:

We who love Scotland will all have our personal list of places which have a special meaning for us. In my case, I think of Craigievar Castle, with its fascinating symmetry and its beguiling colour.

This year, we are undertaking another project to carry out essential maintenance work to Craigievar Castle. This involves high level repairs to the roof and harling on the building as well as refreshing the lime wash that gives Craigievar its distinctive pink colour.

Find out more about our Pink Again project

The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay sit at a polished wooden table. A large book is spread out on top of the table. Prince Charles is signing a visitor book.
The former Duke and Duchess of Rothesay at Craigievar Castle

Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, 2021

The former Duke and Duchess of Rothesay visited Burns Cottage in Ayrshire in September 2021. Among the items placed on display for the Duke and Duchess to view were Robert Burns’s socks! The Duke and Duchess also met with local schoolchildren and enjoyed a brief performance played on a violin that had been owned by Burns’s dance teacher, William Gregg, and may have been played by the Bard himself.

Prince Charles and other officials walk along a wide path, chatting to school children who line the sides. Prince Charles is wearing a kilt.
The former Duke of Rothesay meeting local schoolchildren in Alloway

The National Trust for Scotland is proud of our long-standing association with the Royal Family, having had Her Majesty the Queen Mother as our Patron prior to the former Duke of Rothesay, and having also hosted many visits to our places by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh. We look forward to welcoming Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla, as well as other members of the Royal Family, on future visits to our properties.