At a reception to be held at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on Thursday 5 July 2007, the Queen together with both of Scotland s Catholic Archbishops and other Catholic representatives will officially mark the 500th anniversary of the gift of the Sword of State. Mgr. Charles Burns OBE, a retired Scottish priest who is Ecclesiastical Advisor at the British Embassy to the Holy See and an authority on the Sword will also travel from Rome to attend the event.
The Sword of State which forms part of the Honours of Scotland, the Scottish Crown Jewels was presented to King James IV by Pope Julius II in 1507.
The reception will be attended by the President of the Bishops Conference of Scotland, Cardinal Keith O Brien and the Vice President of the Conference, Archbishop Mario Conti, who is also President of the Bishops Conference Heritage Commission.
Cardinal O Brien said; I am delighted that the gift of the Sword of State is being marked by the Queen while she is in Scotland. I look forward to attending the reception as well as a further event which will take place in Edinburgh Castle during November to mark the anniversary of the gift.
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Notes to Editors:
The Sword is now on permanent display in the Crown Room at Edinburgh Castle. It is 1.4 metres long with images of St. Peter and St. Paul etched into the blade. The silver gilt handle incorporates overlapping oak leaves and acorns taken from the Pope s coat of arms.
The Scottish crown jewels, are the oldest set of Crown Jewels in the British Isles. They were used in the coronations of Scottish monarchs until and including Charles II in 1651. After Oliver Cromwell, ordered almost all of the English regalia to be broken, the Honours of Scotland were hidden and recovered only after the monarchy was restored.
In 1941, the Honours were hidden due to fears that they might be lost in a German attack during World War II. They were taken out in 1953 to be presented to the Queen, and were then returned to be displayed in the Crown Room at Edinburgh Castle where they remain.
An image of the Sword of State is available from Historic Scotland contact:
0131 668 8959