Holyrood Palace or the Palace of
Holyroodhouse, was completed in 1678 to serve
as the Royals main residence in Edinburgh /
Scotland. The Palace that can be seen today was
built for Charles II Stuart, King of Scotland,
England and Ireland 1660 - 1685.
Remains of an earlier Gothic Palace from
1505 are incorporated in the building,
including the Mary Queen of Scots Chambers,
where a brutal murder took place in 1566.
The Palace is situated 1 mile north of
Edinburgh Castle in the grounds of the now
ruined 1100s Holyrood Abbey. The Abbey was used
by many early Royals for weddings and
You can visit the Palace Grounds, Abbey,
Royal Apartments, Mary Queen of Scots Chambers,
Queens Gallery, and Cafe.
The present Holyrood Palace was built to
replace a smaller palace on this site from
1505, and as a replacement of the large
Linlithgow Palace 19 miles west of
Linlithgow Palace had been built in the
1400s, and had fell into disrepair by the
There are also Royal Palaces and Great Halls
in the two vast fortresses of Edinburgh
Castle and Stirling Castle.
The Royals used the Palaces in the castles
during times of conflicts from the 1300s -
1700s. The Palaces in the castles were not as
large, having to be built inside the castle
History of Holyrood Palace
The first Kings to gain control of all
Scotland were descendants of Malcolm III
(Canmore) 1031 – 1093.
Before this time, Scotland had many rulers
in a number of areas.
Malcolm III and his wife who became Saint
Margaret, used Dunfermline Abbey and its
Palace as their top Royal residence, now a
1100s - Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle
are built for David I to serve as secure Royal
residences, and large military forts so he
could attempt to take control of all Scotland,
and extend its borders south into lands
disputed with England.
1128 - David I founds the Augustinian
Holyrood Abbey one mile north of Edinburgh
The straight road between the Castle and
Abbey become known as the Royal Mile.
1326 - Robert the Bruce held a parliament at
the Abbey. Bruce had become King of Scotland
during the First War of
Scottish Independence 1296 - 1328.
Robert the Bruce descendants were the Stuart
kings that ruled Scotland until 1707, and
Scotland and England from 1603 to 1707.
1370 - David II is buried at Holyrood Abbey.
The following years see a number of Royals
married and buried at the Abbey.
1400s, Royal apartments are built at
1505 - a Gothic Palace is built next to the
Abbey for James IV.
1544 - during the War with England over
Henry VIII wanting the young Mary Queen of
Scots to mary his son to unite the two
countries, Holyrood was looted and burned.
1559 - the Reformation leading to the
banning of Christian Catholicism in favour of
Christian Protestantism, led to Reformers
destroying the Abbey Altars.
Holyrood Abbey is left to fall into a ruin
from this time.
1561 - Mary Queen of Scots takes up
residence in the Royal apartments in the
northwest tower of Holyrood Palace.
Mary married her two Scots husbands at
Holyrood, Lord Darnley in 1565, and the 4th
Earl of Bothwell in 1567.
1566 - Mary's private secretary, the Italian
David Rizzio, is murdered in front of Mary in
her private apartments.
stabbed 56 times by Lord Darnley and his
friends as Darnley blamed him for getting Mary
1567 February - Lord Darnley is murdered in
the orchard of Kirk o' Field
house, close to Holyrood, where he had been
Queen Mary and her top nobleman, the 4th
Earl of Bothwell, were suspected of being
behind the murder.
Mary enraged many people after she was seen
playing golf at St Andrews only a few days
after Darnley's murder.
1567 April - Mary was traveling from
Linlithgow Palace to Edinburgh when Bothwell
and 800 men took her to his castle at
1567 May - Mary married Bothwell in the
Great Hall at Holyrood. It is unclear if this
was a consensual or forced marriage.
1567 July - Mary is forced to abdicate in
favour of her one year old son James, who
became King of Scotland at that time, and King
of Scotland and England in 1603.
Scottish Nobles had rebelled against the
marriage of Mary to Bothwell, forcing Bothwell
to flee the country, and Mary to abdicate. Mary
was imprisoned by the Nobles in Loch Leven
Castle by Perth north of Edinburgh.
1568 - Mary escapes and moves to
1587 - Mary is executed by beheading at
Castle by Peterborough in England.
Mary's cousin, Queen Elizabeth of England,
had her executed as some Nobles in England and
Scotland, were accused of plotting to have the
Catholic Mary replace the Protestant Queen
1603 - Queen Elizabeth dies without leaving
an heir. Mary Queen of Scots son James VI of
Scotland, becomes King of England as well,
uniting the two countries.
The Stuart's then ruled England and Scotland
till 1707, with the exception of 11 years
during the English Civil War.
1660 - Charles II is restored to the throne
after the English Civil War.
1678 - the new Holyrood Palace is completed
for Charles II to serve as the Royals main
residence when visiting Scotland.
1707 - Queen Anne Stuart dies without
leaving an heir. Her German cousin George
becomes George I, King of Great Britain. This
was the end of the Stuart Royals.
1745 - Bonnie Prince Charlie controled
Holyrood for five weeks during the Jacobite
Risings, an attempt to have the Stuart's
returned to the throne. The Jacobite's failed
to capture Edinburgh Castle at that time, as
forces loyal to George II repelled the
1746 - the Battle of Culloden sees the
defeat of the Jacobite's, the last major battle
on the British mainland.
1746 to today - Few Royals have stayed at
Holyrood Palace. The present Queen only spends
about one week each summer at the Palace.
The Royals prefer living at Balmoral Castle
in the northeast of Scotland, a remote peaceful
location with more privacy.
2011 - The Queen's granddaughter Zara
Phillips married England rugby player Mike
Tindall at the Canongate Kirk
on the Royal Mile. Holyrood Palace was used for
the wedding celebrations, said to be an
exceptionally lively event.