Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has begun a week long visit to Scotland as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
The monarch will spend the next few days in residence at Edinburgh’s Holyrood Palace as she does each year. Elizabeth was treated to a march by 400 traditional pipers watched on by a crowd of thousands of supporters.
Notably present was the Queen’s husband Prince Phillip who was taken ill during the Jubilee celebrations in London last month.
This year’s ‘Ceremony of the Keys’ where Elizabeth is symbolically offered the keys to the city of Edinburgh has taken on a new meaning following the launch of a campaign for Scottish independence.
First Minister Alex Salmond’s party was behind the call for a referendum in two years, which a recent poll suggests is backed by a third of all Scots.
He maintains though that the Queen would remain as the Scottish head of state in the event of a breakaway from the rest of the United Kingdom.
In 1999, Edinburgh won greater autonomy from London under so-called Scottish devolution.
Queen Elizabeth will also visit Glasgow and Perth over the next few days.