Friday, September 21, 2012

A Teacup from the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Royal Britannia Yacht and Balmoral Castle

Our Globus tour took us to  Scotland's capital city of Edinburgh, where we toured the Palace of Holyroodhouse [a working palace]; the decommissioned Royal Yacht, Britannia, which is moored as a 5-star visitor attraction in the historic Port of Leith; and Balmoral Castle.  

Holyroodhouse is the Queen's official home and office in her Scottish capital.  She spends a week in residence there every summer, while carrying out a wide range of official engagements throughout Scotland.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse has its origins in an Augustinian monastery dating back to 1128.  Over time the palace buildings eclipsed the abbey [the Abbey was abandoned after the roof collapsed in 1768].  The palace is best known as the home of Mary, Queen of Scots.


Below is the teacup I bought at the palace gift shop.  The booklet reads:  The design takes its inspiration from the stag's head, the symbol of the Abbey and Palace of Holyroodhouse.  According to medieval legend, King David I founded the Abbey in 1128, on the spot while out hunting, he had a vision of a stag with a cross between its antlers.
Backstamped on the cup and saucer:  Design inspired by the stag's head and wrought iron gates of the Palace of Holyroodhouse. 
The crest with the stag's head with a cross between its antlers is in the middle of the saucer.
Britannia, the former Royal Yacht of Queen Elizabeth II, is one of the world's best known ships.  The 412 foot vessel made her maiden voyage on April 14, 1954, and was decommissioned in 1997 after sailing over a million miles, and 968 official voyages in almost every part of the globe. 
Thankfully, the tradition of sinking Royal Yachts at sea after they were decommissioned was not followed with Britannia.  The government invited proposals from UK cities interested in providing Britannia with a suitable home, and Edinburgh's proposal was selected.
Britannia was a mixture of palace, embassy, holiday home, and naval vessel.
The visitor reception area is on the second floor of the Ocean Terminal shopping center.  From the shopping center you pass over a bridge that gives access to a glass and steel tower that makes Britannia accessible.  The tower contains stairs and further bridges to the ship's four different levels.  It was a floating stately home, with the addition of officer's accommodations.
[Internet Photo]
After touring the ship, I bought a demitasse commemorative cup and saucer.
Balmoral Castle is a large estate house in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It was purchased by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1848. The estate has been the Scottish home of the British Royal Family ever since. It is privately owned property.
The estate covers just over 50,000 acres of heather clad hills, ancient Caledonian woodland, and the beautiful River Dee is nearby.
The Queen and Prince Philip traditionally spend August, September and part of October at Balmoral. 
[Jerry & Me]
Before our tour of Balmoral, we ate lunch at a cafeteria just outside the castle grounds, which had a gift shop.  I purchased my teacup and saucer there instead of at the castle gift shop.
It is Highland China, made in Scotland, in the Thistle pattern - Scotland's national emblem.
It's interesing how the thistle became Scotland's national emblem.  Viking invasions of Scotland were carried out for almost 500 years.  After many unsuccessful daylight attacks, the invaders planned a surprise attack in darkness.  They crept, barefoot, before dawn, towards the Scottish defenders.  Fortunately for the Scots, one Viking stepped on a thistle and his agonizing cry of pain roused the Scots.  They defeated the Vikings, and the few survivors fled to their ships.  That day the thistle became the country's emblem.
Our Globus tour began at Henry VIII's Hampton Court Palace, approximately 12 miles west of London.  It has not been a working royal residence since 1760.  Somehow I missed getting a teacup there.  Guess I'll just have to return to get one, but I did manage to take some photos of the palace.
I hope you've enjoyed the palaces and teacup series.


  1. I very much enjoyed the palace and teacup series. Lovely pictures and information about each palace. I could stay at the summer house....sigh

  2. Beautiful places and beautiful teacups! I think the thistle one is my favorite, though.

  3. I so enjoy reading about your travels, and of course I am fascinated that you manage to find a beautiful and *meaningful* teacup at just about every place! I had not heard that story about the thistle, so that gives me a new appreciation for this plant!

  4. I would like to have a tea cup with a photograph of Kate and William. Do you know of anywhere I can order one? I think the Duchess of Cambridge has made a big success of her first year and a half as part of the Royal Family. I am very saddened about the photographs taken of her sunbathing but she has nothing to be ashamed about because she never looked more stunning than she does in a simple bikini bottoms and nothing on top. I am amazed at her beauty in the nude.

    If you know where I can find a quality tea cup of the Cambridge's would you mail me? Thanks! Love your photographs! How close can you get to Balmoral Castle, by the way?


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