Animated Queen says it's 'nice to be back' in first trip to Scotland since death of Prince Philip

·Royal Correspondent
·3 min read

Watch: Queen receives Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon in Edinburgh

The Queen was in good spirits as she met Nicola Sturgeon in person for the first time in more than a year, remarking that she was happy to be back in Scotland.

The Queen is carrying out engagements across Scotland this week for Royal Week, an annual tradition that usually includes one of her garden parties at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

However this year the party has been postponed for a second year running, because of the ongoing pandemic.

The Queen, 95, noted the continued distance put between her and the first minister as they met in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JUNE 29: Queen Elizabeth II receives First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon during an audience at the Palace of Holyroodhouse on June 29, 2021 in Edinburgh, Scotland.  The Queen is visiting Scotland for Royal Week between Monday 28th June and Thursday 1st July 2021. (Photo by Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Queen looked animated during the visit with Nicola Stugeon in Edinburgh. (Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JUNE 29: Queen Elizabeth II receives First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon during an audience at the Palace of Holyroodhouse on June 29, 2021 in Edinburgh, Scotland.  The Queen is visiting Scotland for Royal Week between Monday 28th June and Thursday 1st July 2021. (Photo by Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Queen said it was nice to be back in Scotland. (Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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She said: "It’s very nice to be back again. A year’s gap is incredible. We’re still rather distanced I’m afraid…you must be quite used to that."

Responding to the distance comment, Sturgeon remarked it was "quite wise".

Royal Week in Scotland began on Monday when the Queen was accompanied by Prince William, her grandson, at the Irn-Bru factory in Cumbernauld near Glasgow.

They then both attended the Ceremony of the Keys at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen's official residence in Edinburgh.

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William, 39, went back to London via a trip to the BAE Systems yard in Govan, Glasgow, to meet the team building HMS Glasgow, which his wife Kate is going to be sponsor of.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to attend the England v Germany match in Wembley on Tuesday afternoon. The duke is president of the FA.

On Tuesday, the Queen also went to Stirling Castle to reopen The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders’ Museum in her capacity as Patron of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Association.

The Queen was presented with the keys to Stirling Castle before viewing a range of exhibitions on display which reflect the Highlanders' military history, before unveiling a plaque to formally open the museum.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JUNE 29: Queen Elizabeth II receives First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon during an audience at the Palace of Holyroodhouse on June 29, 2021 in Edinburgh, Scotland.  The Queen is visiting Scotland for Royal Week between Monday 28th June and Thursday 1st July 2021. (Photo by Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Queen received first minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon during an audience at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. (Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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The Queen will be joined by her daughter Princess Anne on Wednesday and Thursday, for more engagements across Scotland.

It's the first time the Queen has been back there since her husband Prince Philip died in April 2021.

They were able to spend some time together up there last summer, as they traditionally took their summer break each year in Balmoral.

Royal Week would usually be followed by the Queen's summer holiday stay in Balmoral, which often starts about mid-July.

However it is not known if the Queen intends to return to Windsor for some time.

Her grandson Prince Harry is visiting, for the unveiling of the statue of his mother Diana, in a trip thought to be fleeting because his wife Meghan is at home in California caring for their daughter Lilibet, who is one-month-old. 

Watch: The Queen's Biography

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