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Ceremony organization

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The rivalry between the Scots and the English is nothing new. Edward Kellie, Director of Music at Holyrood, went to London to convince the King that he and his musicians could organise the music better “than could be done by strangers”. Nevertheless 26 singers and musicians came north with the King. Clan chiefs from the Highlands were invited “in their best order, before the English and make a display.”

The actual form of the ceremony was much discussed, disputed and revised, with overall-responsibility falling to The Lord Lyon King of Arms, Sir James Balfour, from whose account much of this story has come to light. Coins and medals were specially minted by Nicholas Briot which were to be thrown to the crowds as the King passed, by while “the trumpets sounded and were answered by the castell of Edinburgh whith the thundering of great ordinance.”

Great care was taken to organise the order of the procession. In an age when pecking-order was so important it was very difficult to avoid giving offence to someone or other.
“it is thought meit that the Scottish nobilitie sall proceed and ryde immediatlie before his Majestie and that the English nobilitie sall keep their rankes without mixing up with the gentrie: and that the Lord Mairshell sall have ane care that they ryde in order without presse or confusion.”

For the King’s progress through the country each parish was ordered to make road repairs and all the towns on the route to be well-furnished :
“With all kynde of provision for men and horse, with lodgings cleane, handsome, and neat. Bedding and naperie to be clean and weill smelled. And no middins or beggars to be seene in the streets.”

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