Darnleys Bed

If you want a quick and effortless way to check off all the major locations to visit in Edinburgh, Marketing Edinburgh have produced an excellent bullet point guide which is available in hard copy or on its website.  Entitled ‘Edinburgh’s 101 Objects’ it has whittled down the City into 101 iconic starting points to view the history from certain perspectives, depending on your interests. The 101 objects have then been divided into subsections for you to narrow your search.  The categories being the Old Town, the New Town, free objects to view, objects in the National Museum of Scotland, the ‘Dark side’, beyond the City Centre, faith and nation, books words and ideas, building a City, and the City of innovation. All reflect on the vitality and history of this fine City.  There is also one more category, which I resisted the urge to review today, a pub crawl, as I decided to concentrate on item number 78 on the list, DARNLEYS BED.

The beauty of the objects list is it opens you up to more than just the one item itself, because Darnleys bed is installed in Holyrood Palace, which you must visit to see the bed.  I was fortunate to attend on that rarest of Edinburgh days a beautifully warm spring morning, which lights up the architecture of the Palace set against the stunning backdrop of Arthurs seat.

Pick up a tour handset and the importance of this Palace yesterday, and still, as it is the Queens residence when in Edinburgh, is well explained at a good pace, as you visit the rooms that the Royal Highness would use if she was here today before entering the older historical areas.  As you would expect the walls are adorned with kings, queens, and ancient greats from yesteryear, including the notorious Lord Darnley, who was married to the tragic Mary Queen of Scots. She slept in the ‘Darnley bed’ and it is preserved to this day to be witnessed as a bed befitting a Queen of any age, built in 1682 and suspended impressively from the ceiling.  Hear then the accompanying handset explain the tragic events that took place in the very room you are standing in. Finally a walk around the remains of the adjacent monastery and marvel about how they built such an epic structure in the 1500’s. One tiny object opens a whole treasure chest of history – I would recommend 101 objects to anyone wanting to learn more about this City.

Edinburgh 101 Objects – http://edinburgh.org/101/

Holyrood Palace – https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/visit/palace-of-holyroodhouse


Steve Heald

Writing is my passion – Contact me at steve_j_heald@hotmail.com if you would like me to cover your event.