HONOURS OF SCOTLAND
Scottish Crown Jewels)
ancient Honours of Scotland - the crown, sceptre and sword of state
- are on view in the Crown Room. One of the most romantic of the stories
attached to the ancient crown jewels of Scotland concerns the manner
of their rediscovery in 1818.
It was known that, at the Treaty of Union in 1707, when the old Scots
Parliament was dissolved for ever (`the end of an auld sang'), the Scottish
Regalia had been deposited within Edinburgh Castle. No more appropriate
resting-place for these revered relics of Scotland's sovereignty could
have been found. As the years passed, there were disturbing rumours
that the ancient regalia had been quietly removed to London.
largely by the intercession of that super-patriot Sir Walter Scott,
authority was obtained from the Prince Regent (later George IV) in 1818
to make a search of the castle. In an oak chest within what is now the
Crown Room, with Scott among the spectators, there was found the precious
regalia, including the crown that had been made in the time of the great
Bruce. Scott's emotions have been recorded by the historian James Grant:
`The joy was therefore extreme when, the ponderous lid having been forced
open ... the regalia were discovered lying at the bottom covered with
linen cloths, exactly as they had been left in 1707.'
Today the ancient symbols of sovereignty are on permanent display to
the people in that same room, where they saw the light of day once more
almost two centuries ago. As one gazes upon the gleaming crown, sceptre
and sword of state, it is not difficult to conjure up the drama of some
earlier chapters of that `auld sang'.