3rd of July, 2023
By Cameron Brooks
The Order of Service has been announced for the Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication at St Giles’ on Wednesday 5 July during which His Majesty King Charles III, accompanied by Queen Camilla, will be presented with the Honours of Scotland.
The event, which starts at 2.15pm, follows the King’s coronation which was held on May 6 in Westminster Abbey in London, and will feature centuries old aspects of Scottish royal tradition along with new additions such as pieces of music written specially for the occasion, a psalm sung in Gaelic and the use of passages from the New Testament in Scots.
The Rev Calum I MacLeod, minister of St Giles’, will provide the Welcome and Call to Worship at the start of the service.
Moderator Sally Foster Fulton, First Minister Humza Yousaf and the Very Reverend Professor David Fergusson, Dean of the Chapel Royal and Dean of the Order of the Thistle.
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Rev Sally Foster-Fulton will preach the sermon and then provide a blessing to close the service.
The Very Reverend Professor David Fergusson, Dean of the Chapel Royal and Dean of the Order of the Thistle, will lead prayers and also take part in the presentation of the Honours of Scotland and the Elizabeth Sword to His Majesty the King.
Christine De Luca, former Edinburgh Makar and an Elder of the Church of Scotland, will do a reading from Murdoch Nisbet’s New Testament (printed 1520), the first translation into Scots.
The Rev Dr Amos Chewachong, minister of Newport-on-Tay Parish Church, will take part in the Prayers of Intercession and Dedication, as will Church of Scotland member Professor Liz Grant.
There will also be contributions from other Christian denominations and faiths.Other participants include First Minister Humza Yousaf and Dame Katherine Grainger.
Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay will also attend. Those wishing to watch the service can do so on BBC1.
Mrs Foster-Fulton said: “What a joy to welcome Their Majesties The King and Queen back home to Scotland and to participate in the National Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication on the 5 July.”
The Rev Neil Gardner, domestic chaplain to His Majesty the King and minister at Canongate Kirk, said: “As minister of Canongate Kirk, the Kirk of Holyroodhouse and Edinburgh Castle, and one of the two Domestic Chaplains in the Chapel Royal in Scotland, it’s always a pleasure to welcome the monarch to the parish at the beginning of Royal Week.
“Though no stranger to the Palace or the parish, it will be a particular pleasure this year to welcome HM The King to his first Royal Week as monarch and to attend the Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication in St Giles.
“Not least because the story of the ancient Honours of Scotland, with which His Majesty will be presented in the Cathedral, is interwoven with that of Holyroodhouse and Edinburgh Castle down through the centuries.”
A prayer from the Rev Neil Gardner, chaplain to His Majesty the King:
Loving God, centuries ago you kindled a flame of love in the heart of your servant Queen Margaret and by her humility and kindness made clear the way of royal service in this land. Now as we give thanks for our newly-crowned Sovereign King Charles, we pray that having been called to an earthly throne he might advance your heavenly Kingdom. Amidst all the panoply of Church and State, may our ancient ceremonies and symbols reflect your unchanging purpose of peace and goodwill. May they speak not just of our history and heritage but of our hope for years to come. For our hope is rooted in faith, and our faith rooted in Jesus Christ, the King of Kings. Amen.
The Very Rev Dr Angus Morrison, chaplain-in-ordinary to His Majesty the King, said: “It is a great privilege to be one of those representing the Chapel Royal in Scotland at the National Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication in St Giles’ Cathedral.
“There is no doubt that here in Scotland, King Charles and Queen Camilla will receive a right royal welcome. The King’s connections with Scotland are lifelong, deep and extensive.
“Like his mother, our late Queen, and indeed the whole Royal Family, King Charles has a great love for this country.
“As a Gael, a special recollection of mine is of the time he spent on the island of Berneray in the Sound of Harris, learning ‘hands on’ about all aspects of crofting.
“The King’s interest in and strong affirmation of the traditions, values and way of life of our, so-called, ‘remote’ communities is enduring and profound.
“The National Service will be a meaningful and moving occasion, marking a new chapter in the relationship of our King and Queen to the country and people of Scotland they hold so dear.”
The Very Rev Prof David Fergusson, Dean of the Chapel Royal in Scotland, said: “I am delighted that Their Majesties King Charles and Queen Camilla will be attending the National Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication at St Giles’ where they will be presented with the Honours of Scotland.
“For many centuries, these regalia have been used at ceremonial occasions in Scotland.
“The King’s deep love of Scotland is well documented, and a National Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication is a welcome opportunity for people to gather together in a moment of celebration.
“Following her coronation in 1953, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth also took part in a National Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication at St Giles’. Our prayers will be with The King and Queen on their visit to Edinburgh.”
The Very Rev Dr Susan Brown, pictured right, chaplain-in-ordinary to the King, said: “Having been able to pay our respects as a nation, in St Giles’ to Her Majesty when she died and give thanks for her long and faithful reign, it feels appropriate to welcome Their Majesties King Charles and Queen Camilla to Scotland and to give thanks for the new reign now begun. We wish them both every blessing.”
The Rev Calum I MacLeod, minister of St Giles’, said: “It is a great honour and privilege to welcome Their Majesties King Charles and Queen Camilla to St Giles’ on such a joyous occasion. His Majesty has visited the cathedral many times and this will certainly be a fitting place to have a Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication during His Majesty’s first visit to Scotland following The Coronation in May.
“St Giles’ was probably founded by David I in around 1124 so there has been a strong royal connection since the beginning, nearly 900 years’ ago.”