Located at the bottom of the Royal Mile, opposite Edinburgh Castle, sits the official residence of the Monarch of the United Kingdom, the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
The Palace was constructed by James IV, King of Scots, in the early 16th century, adjacent to Holyrood Abbey, which dates back to 1128. In 1650 fire destroyed the east range of the Palace and in 1671 complete reconstruction began, completed in 1679. The Baroque design of architect Sir William Bruce comprises four wings formed around a central courtyard, the quadrangle.
The Palace has been the official residence of the Monarch of the United Kingdom since its founding, though there have been periods when the Palace was not utilized by the Crown, primarily when in disrepair. Queen Elizabeth II spends one week each year at Holyrood, during the summer, where she holds court and attends to her official duties.
The Keeper of Holyrood House is viewed as an important role, so much so, that in 1646 King Charles I conferred the title 1st Duke of Hamilton, which is heritable. Descendents of the 1st Duke have retained this ever since.
The Historic Apartments of Mary, Queen of Scots, are open to the public, although there is no photography allowed there, nor anywhere else inside. Despite the no photography restriction the Palace is certainly worth a visit, especially for history buffs. For paranormals, purportedly the naked ghost of Agnes Sampson (Bald Agnes), who was stripped and tortured in 1591 following her arrest and charge of witchcraft, roams the halls at Holyrood.
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