Charles and Camilla presented with Robert the Bruce sword at art gallery opening

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The Royal couple were presented with the replica sword (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)
The Royal couple were presented with the replica sword (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were presented with a replica sword of one of Scotland’s most famous freedom fighters with links to the Queen during their official opening of an art gallery.

The royal couple, known in Scotland as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay, were presented with a replica of the sword of Robert the Bruce on their visit to Aberdeen Art Gallery.

They then unveiled the installation featuring the sword which marks the 700th anniversary of the granting of the freedom lands to Aberdeen.

Robert the Bruce has links to the Queen’s Scottish heritage.

She is descended from Mary Queen of Scots, James I, who was James VI of Scotland, and Robert the Bruce himself, who secured Scotland’s independence from England in the 14th century.

The royal couple unveiled a sword to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the granting of the freedom lands to Aberdeen (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)
The royal couple unveiled a sword to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the granting of the freedom lands to Aberdeen (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)

The official opening comes after the gallery reopened its doors in November 2019, following a four-year £35 million refurbishment, subject to numerous delays.

Forced to close for a period during the coronavirus pandemic, it is once again open and free to enter, housing three floors of exhibitions with an upstairs viewing platform with views over the city.

On arrival, the royal couple were greeted by Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeen City Barney Crockett, and welcomed by children from Robert Gordon’s College waving flags, whom all three stopped to chat with.

Inside the gallery, they were greeted members of Aberdeen City Council, including council leader Jenny Laing, the museum manager Alex Robertson and art gallery service manager Helen Fothergill.

Mr Crockett accompanied the visitors as they toured the gallery and met staff and members of the redevelopment team.

The couple stopped to speak to veterans in the Remembrance Hall, including Men Bahadur Gurung, who said it was a “great honour” to meet them.

He added: “It was a wonderful day.

“We just had a general conversation, and they were so lovely.”

The couple seemed particularly interested in the Forget Me Not installation commissioned by Gordon Burnett and made out of intricate forget-me-not flowers.

Charles tours the gallery (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)
Charles tours the gallery (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)

Charles who was wearing Gordon tartan and his Gordon Highlander’s badge, visited the Balmoral Phenomenon gallery and viewed clothing belonging to Frances Farquharson, the flamboyant former editor of Harper’s Bazaar, and chatelaine of Invercauld Estate, Braemar, near the Queen’s residence at Balmoral.

Mrs Farquharson, known for her love of fashion and striking tartan ensembles, donated a large part of her wardrobe to Aberdeen Archives, Gallery and Museums in 1996.

The duke appeared very jovial in the Balmoral Phenomenon gallery, laughing with staff and members of the royal party as he viewed paintings depicting his ancestors.

The duchess, wearing a Balmoral tartan dress by Mr Roy, spoke with pupils from Hanover Street Primary School in the Exploring Art gallery.

The couple then unveiled a plaque on the roof terrace to mark the official reopening.

The couple unveiled a plaque at the official opening (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)
The couple unveiled a plaque at the official opening (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)

Marie Lanaghan, trustee with the Art Gallery development trust, said: “It was a very intimate, lovely, official opening.

“We were so lucky to have His Royal Highness and Camilla it was just brilliant.”

Councillor Marie Boulton said: “I think they were really impressed with the way the gallery has been sensitively redeveloped and I think part of the conversation I had with His Royal Highness was the fact that we’ve made the gallery fully accessible, because before we would have to put people in the goods lift if they were in a wheelchair.

“For me that wasn’t acceptable, so I was really pleased when that was one of the main focuses we had in redeveloping the art gallery.”

Mr Crockett said: “It is a tremendous honour to welcome Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay to carry out the official opening of Aberdeen Art Gallery.

“The Art Gallery is home to one of the finest collections in the UK, and the ambitious redevelopment project has created a safe, welcoming and inspiring civic space both for the people of Aberdeen and visitors to the city.”

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