The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall received a replica of the sword of one of Scotland’s most famous freedom fighters with ties to the Queen at the official opening of a gallery of art.
The royal couple, known in Scotland as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay, received a replica of Robert the Bruce’s sword during their visit to the Aberdeen Art Gallery.
They then unveiled the installation featuring the sword which marks the 700th anniversary of the granting of Freedom Lands in Aberdeen.
Robert the Bruce has ties to the Queen’s Scottish heritage.
She is descended from Mary, Queen of Scots, from James I, who was James VI of Scotland, and from Robert the Bruce himself, who obtained Scottish independence from England. in the 14th century.
The official opening comes after the gallery reopened in November 2019, following a Â£ 35million renovation over four years, subject to numerous delays.
Forced to close for a period during the coronavirus pandemic, it is once again open and free to access, housing three floors of exhibits with an upstairs observation deck overlooking the city.
Upon their arrival, the royal couple were greeted by Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeen City Barney Crockett, and greeted by children from Robert Gordon’s College waving flags, the three of whom stopped to chat with.
Inside the gallery, they were greeted by members of Aberdeen City Council, including Board Chair Jenny Laing, Museum Director Alex Robertson and Art Gallery Services Director 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 Hall of Remembrance, including Men Bahadur Gurung, who said it was a “great honor” to meet them.
He added: âIt was a wonderful day.
“We just had a general conversation, and they were so adorable.”
The couple seemed particularly interested in the installation Forget Me Not commissioned by Gordon Burnett and composed of intricate forget-me-not flowers.
Charles, who wore the Gordon tartan and his Gordon Highlander badge, visited the Balmoral Phenomenon Gallery and saw clothing belonging to Frances Farquharson, the former flamboyant editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, and lord of Invercauld Estate, Braemar, near of the Queen’s residence at Balmoral.
Ms Farquharson, known for her love of fashion and striking tartan ensembles, donated much of her wardrobe to the Aberdeen Archives, Galleries and Museums in 1996.
The Duke appeared very jovial in the Balmoral Phenomenon Gallery, laughing with staff and members of the Royal Party as they looked at paintings depicting his ancestors.
The Duchess, in a Mr Roy’s Balmoral tartan dress, spoke to students at Hanover Street Elementary School in the Exploring Art gallery.
The couple then unveiled a plaque on the rooftop terrace to mark the official reopening.
Marie Lanaghan, Trustee of the Art Gallery Development Trust, said: âIt was a very intimate, charming grand opening.
âWe were so lucky to have Her Royal Highness and Camilla, it was just awesome.â
Councilor Marie Boulton said: âI think they were really impressed with the way the gallery was sensitively redesigned and I think part of the conversation I had with Her Royal Highness was the fact that we made the gallery fully accessible, because before we would have to put people in the freight elevator if they were in wheelchairs.
“For me it was not acceptable, so I was really happy that this was one of the main goals we had in the redevelopment of the art gallery.”
Mr Crockett said: âIt is a tremendous honor to welcome Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay to the official opening of the Aberdeen Art Gallery.
“The art gallery is home to one of the UK’s finest collections, and the ambitious redevelopment project has created a safe, welcoming and inspiring civic space for both Aberdeen residents and visitors to the city.”
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