King Charles has conferred city status on Dunfermline, an ancient capital of Scotland, after carrying out his first official visit as monarch.
During a short walkabout in the city, a burial place for medieval kings including Robert the Bruce, who fought off an English invasion 700 years ago, the King was greeted by large crowds.
In a short speech at the city chambers to mark its elevation to city status, the King said he and his wife, Camilla, the Queen Consort, were “immensely proud” to be able to share the historic moment.
The letters patent making Dunfermline a city was in his mother’s name: plans had been under way before her death for the Queen to make the announcement. It was one of eight communities given the honour as part of the late Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations.
“There could be no more fitting way to mark my beloved mother’s extraordinary life of service than by granting this honour to a place made famous by its own long and distinguished history, and by the indispensable role it has played in the life of our country,” the King said.
“Now, of course, we gather to celebrate this great occasion but also to commemorate the life of her late Majesty, whose deep love for Scotland was one of the foundations of her life.”
After the ceremony, the couple walked to Dunfermline Abbey to mark its 950th anniversary; a medieval palace on the site was the birthplace of Scotland’s first King Charles in 1600, the last monarch born in Scotland.
Chris Ship, ITV’s royal editor, noted that some in the crowd booed as Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, was greeted by dignitaries when she arrived at the city chambers; many others cheered.
If you needed a reminder of how decisive Scottish politics can be, @NicolaSturgeon was mostly booed (plus some cheers) by the crowd waiting for King Charles and Camilla to arrive.
This is a crowd waiting for a monarch to turn up but took me by surprise… pic.twitter.com/VknLI9W8Zp
— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) October 3, 2022
Sturgeon said Scotland and Dunfermline were “deeply honoured” the couple had chosen the city for their first official joint visit since the Queen’s death at Balmoral in September. “It will ensure that an ancient capital of Scotland, long regarded as a city by those who live here, can now officially enjoy that status,” she said.
Charles and Camilla then travelled to Edinburgh for a reception at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the monarch’s official residence in Scotland, with between 200 and 300 people of South Asian heritage, to mark their contribution to British life, including in the NHS, the arts, education, business, media and the armed forces.
Meanwhile, Buckingham Palace confirmed that South Africa’s president and first lady, Cyril Ramaphosa and Tshepo Motsepe, will be guests of honour for the first state visit of the King’s reign in November. The details are still being confirmed, but such visits normally involve a lavish state banquet.