Edinburgh Bookshelf

Edinburgh Past and Present


HISTORICAL AND DESCRIPTIVE NOTES. BY WILLIAM BALLINGALL. -- THE Royal Exchange is situated immediately opposite the eastern wing of Parliament Square. On the north side of the quadrangle, under the piazza, is the entrance to the Council Chambers, the main approach from the High Street being through an archway, as shown in the Engraving. Here, in September 1842, Queen Victoria, on her first visit to Edinburgh, was presented with the keys of the city. Hugh Miller in describing the Royal progress writes :- ' There was the gleam of helmets, the flash of swords ; the shout rose high ; and as the vehicle in front moved on, there was a fluttering of scarfs and kerchiefs at every casement and in every gallery, as if a stiff breeze had swept by and shaken them as it passed. The city Magistrates in their scarlet robes had formed a group in front of the Exchange, and here the Royal vehicle paused, and the Lord Provost went through the ceremony of delivering the city keys into the hands of the Sovereign.' As a link between the present and the past, the Corporation met in the Council Chambers on the 16th of August 1876, for the purpose of proceeding to Holyrood to present her Majesty with the keys of the city. On entering the presence-chamber at the Palace, the Lord Provost read the following address :- ' May it please your Majesty,-We, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lord Provost, Magistrates, and Town Council, offer for your Majesty's gracious acceptance the keys of your good town of Edinburgh j we thus surrender to your Majesty the custody of the city, and place the hearts and persons of the citizens with unfeigned devotion at the disposal of your Majesty; and we earnestly beseech the Almighty that He may bless and long continue your Majesty's reign over us, and ever have your Majesty and the members of your Royal House in His loving and holy keeping.' The silver keys, to which are attached white and black ribbons, lay on a crimson velvet cushion in a silver salver. (For illustration see titlepage.)
Volume 11 Page 86
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Volume 11 Page 87
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