Queen Opens New Holyrood Session

The Queen will lead a ceremony in Edinburgh officially opening the new session of parliament following the SNP' victory at the Holyrood election.

A day of ceremony and celebration has been laid on in Edinburgh, with a "riding'' of the Royal Mile, a military procession and an open day for the public inside the Parliament.

The Crown of Scotland will be carried down the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle.

The monarch, accompanied by her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, will address MSPs, who will also hear a speech from First Minister Alex Salmond.

The Queen will be given a performance of the Robert Burns song Now Westlin Winds and will hear a poem written for the occasion by Liz Lochhead, the Scots Makar, or national poet.

In the afternoon, the Parliament will be filled with a programme of music and art, including pipes and drums, harp music, bands, a drumming troupe and Gaelic song.

Holyrood Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick said: "For 12 years Holyrood has acted as a Parliament for the people and it is only fitting that today, on this historic occasion, they should be at the very centre of the celebrations.

As MSPs it is our duty on this, the opening of our fourth session, to make sure that Holyrood continues to be open and accessible to all, and to strive to reflect the true aspirations, hopes and dreams of all the people of Scotland.

Through today's riding, the poems and music in the chamber and in our Moving Stories exhibition which has travelled the length of country - we are reaching out to the people of Scotland and hearing their voice.''

The SNP won 69 of the 129 seats at Holyrood in the election on May 5, leading to the first single-party majority government since devolution in 1999.

The work of the Parliament's fourth session is already under way. MSPs will break for summer after the official opening.

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