LONDON (AP) – Queen Elizabeth II opened the Sixth Session of the Scottish Parliament on Saturday and reflected on “the deep and lasting affection” she and her late husband Prince Philip shared for Scotland.
The 95-year-old monarch arrived for the ceremony with his son, Prince Charles, and his wife, Camilla, who in Scotland are known as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay. The ceremony in Edinburgh began with the introduction of the Royal Mace and the Crown of Scotland into the chamber.
“I have already spoken of my deep and lasting affection for this wonderful country and the many happy memories Prince Philip and I have always kept from our time here,” the Queen told lawmakers.
The couple spent many summers at the royal residence in Scotland, Balmoral Castle, often joined by members of the royal family. The Queen arrived in Edinburgh from the castle.
It is the first time that she has opened a new session of the Scottish Parliament without Philip by her side. The prince, who was officially known as the Duke of Edinburgh, died in April at the age of 99.
“The start of a new session is a time of renewal and fresh thinking, offering an opportunity to look to the future and our future generations,” the Queen said during her address to lawmakers.
This opportunity is particularly ripe this year, she said, with the annual United Nations climate summit scheduled for October 31 to November 12 in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow. The Queen has said she will attend the event, known as COP26 for short.
âThe eyes of the world will be on the UK – and Scotland, in particular – as leaders come together to address the challenges of climate change,â she said.
Responding to the Queen’s speech, Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon expressed “deep sympathy and shared sadness” for Philip’s death, and thanked the monarch for being a “staunch friend” of the Scottish Parliament ever since. its creation in 1999.
“As we battle the storm of a global pandemic, the hope and desire for change is perhaps felt more strongly by more people than at any time in our recent history,” she said. declared.
Although Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party wants the country to be independent from the UK, its policy is to retain the monarchy. However, many of its members say they prefer an elected head of state.
The Queen, Charles and Camilla were also due to meet Scots who have been recognized for their contributions to the community during the coronavirus pandemic.
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