Ceremonial Duties

The Royal Company is perhaps best known for its role in State Ceremonial in Scotland.

The Royal Company may expect to undertake the duties listed below.

The Accession and Coronation of The Monarch

A detachment of the Royal Company will likely be on parade at Edinburgh’s Mercat Cross when the Lord Lyon reads the Proclamation of Accession. Coronations at Westminster Abbey will include the Captain-General in his role as Gold Stick for Scotland and an Escort of Archers alongside the Gentlemen at Arms and the Yeomen of the Guard.

State Funerals

Only the Sovereign is accorded a state funeral in the United Kingdom. The Royal Company contributes significantly to the ceremonial pageantry during the period of mourning and the State Funeral itself.  In 2002, four Archers took guard at the lying-at-rest of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in Westminster Hall.


The Royal Company is invariably on duty for Investitures in January, late June or early July at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. As the Sovereign’s Body Guard we are required to protect the Sovereign.

Ceremony for The Knights of The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle

The Royal Company provides a Guard of Honour as well as a Colour Party outside St Giles’s Cathedral in Parliament Square.  The Royal Company also provides The King’s Escort and a lining party and ushers inside the Cathedral. 

State Visits

Since the State Visit of HM King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in 1975, from time to time, the Royal Company provides a Guard of Honour at the Palace of Holyroodhouse for State Visits to Scotland.  The last time this happened was for the State Visit of the Pope in 2010.

The Royal Garden Party

The Royal Company’s most regular duty is to be in attendance at The Monarch’s annual Garden Party on the lawns of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in late June or early July. The Monarch welcomes around 8,000 people from all walks of Scottish life to spend a relaxed afternoon in the grounds of the Palace. Around 150 Archers form avenues down which The Monarch and members of The Royal Family proceed to the ‘Grand Circle’ while guests, chosen at random, are presented to them by the Captain-General and the President of Council. Some 60 Archers form the ‘Grand Circle’ and provide a detachment for the Royal Tea Tent. Other Archers are positioned around the Garden in order to assist in hosting guests.


Other Ceremonial Occasions

The Scottish Parliament

Whenever The Monarch visits the Scottish Parliament, the Captain-General is in attendance. The Royal Company provides a Guard of Honour, a Body Guard at Queensberry House and an Escort to the Crown of Scotland which is carried by the Duke of Hamilton, Hereditary Bearer of The Crown of Scotland.

The General Assembly of The Church of Scotland  

The Royal Company first took part in  the arrival ceremony of the Lord High Commissioner at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in 2019.  This was followed by the Royal Company escorting the Sovereign’s representative at the opening of the General Assembly at New College.

Presentation of Colours        

From time to time, the Royal Company are on duty for the presentation of new Colours (or Standards for Scotland’s cavalry) to Scottish regiments.

Other Duties

Other duties arise as occasion demands. For example, the Royal Company formed Guards of Honour for Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Abbotsford House on 3 July 2013 and to the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle on 3 July 2014. Guards of Honour were also found when the Queen opened the Borders Railway on 9 September 2015 and the Queensferry Crossing on 4 September 2017 – exactly 53 years to the day, when Queen Elizabeth opened the Forth Road Bridge in 1964.