May 17th marks the day King James VI made his historic homecoming visit to Edinburgh. It was the last time he would see his the city of his birth, and the first time he had returned to Scotland since the union of the crowns in 1603.
Having sworn to remain faithful to Scotland, and to make regular visits back here during his reign as king of England, James had reneged on his promises and returned here a virtual stranger to his home. Nevertheless great efforts were made for his visit, with a grand celebratory banquet which cost over £6,333 - equivalent to over £1m in today's money.
The banquet was likely only for invited guests and council members, but the list of produce purchased (and served) included:
Drinking and public dancing were the order of the day, though it's astonishing anyone had the energy for dancing after that big buffet...
A new panel portrait of James was created for the Netherbow Port, the grandest gateway into Edinburgh at the World's End, complete with ornate gold decoration, and at Edinburgh Castle a special renovation had been undertaken for the occasion.
A suite of new apartments had been constructed to commemorate the king's visit, and the small room in which James had been born to Mary, Queen of Scots, had been redecorated with new panelling detailing the king's heraldic coat of arms, and the historic dates from his reign as king of England and Scotland. This decorative panelling is still visible to visitors to the Castle today.
So take a walk in royal footsteps this weekend, and see the city as James VI would have done, before he returned to London to live out the rest of his reign.
For more information about Edinburgh's royal past, take a fully customised walking tour of the city with me!
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