Since my time in the U.K. I’ve learned two very important things. The Queen does NOT live in Buckingham Palace and she does not stay in the Edinburgh Castle either. When we arrived in Edinburgh, a few other students pointed to the Edinburgh Castle and told me the Queen lives there when she visits Scotland. I knew that the Queen did have a palace to stay in while visiting, but I wasn’t positive which one, so my naive self believed them.

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Holyrood Palace

It wasn’t until we visited the Palace of Holyroodhouse that I learned that the Queen did not stay in the Edinburgh Castle. At the beginning of every summer, Queen Elizabeth stays at Hollyrood Palace to hold ceremonies and attend to official business. But, this isn’t her official Scotland holiday home. When she comes to stay in Scotland she stays at Balmoral Castle, located in Aberdeenshire. It makes sense that she doesn’t stay in Holyrood Palace as her holiday home because there are constantly tours going on there.

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Crest over the Entrance of Holyrood

I imagine Balmoral Castle to like the United Kingdom’s version of Camp David, the up north resort the President vacations at. Personally, I think it sounds a lot cooler saying “I’m going to Balmoral Castle”. Because saying “I’m going to Camp David” just sounds like you’re going to boy scout camp. But, I guess that’s the Royal difference between the United States and the United Kingdom.

While visiting Holyrood I learned that it’s where Mary, Queen of Scots lived and where she was married in 1565. We were able to see the King and Queens chambers, dining area and closets. We were even able to see Mary’s bedroom, which is where Mary’s private secretary, David Rizzio, was murdered by her husband.

After visiting so many castles and the Tower of London, I’ve come to the conclusion that the middle ages were extremely morbid and violent. Not to say that American history wasn’t violent at all. It just seems to me that the middle ages were a wee bit more violent and gory than I ever imagined.

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The Courtyard at Holyrood