This Scottish palace, situated at the end of Edinburgh's Royal Mile, was begun around the now attached abbey founded in 1128 by David I, on the occasion of his not being killed by an irritated stag. Allegedely, the rescue is credited to the interception of a Cross, which apparently saved him from the imminent goring ("Holyrood" means "Holy Cross"). History does not record what became of the stag.

The still-standing Chapel Royal contains such famous corpses as David II, James II, James V, and Lord Darnley (Henry Stuart).

Construction on the palace proper was begun by James IV in about 1500; deconstruction began 44 years later during one of the country's many disputes with neighbor England, which took it upon itself to do a bit of uninvited redecorating.

More bad luck followed in the 1560's, when Mary, Queen of Scots was in residence. She married two of her husbands there (bad luck for her--one died, the other was murdered) and witnessed the murder of her own private secretary, David Rizzio, in 1566 (bad luck for him). It was at that point she scuttled off to live someplace a bit less death-filled.

In 1650, Fate, in the guise of Oliver Cromwell, decided to make a clean start of things, and had the place burnt nearly to the ground. It was another twenty years before Charles II decided to have another go at it, rebuilding according to plans by William Bruce. It became the King's offical residence while in Scotland, and has served as such for many of the subsequent British monarchs (though Queen Victoria quite notably preferred Balmoral).

More recently, the palace suffered from a nasty case of dry-rot, but is reported to be recovering nicely.

The interior holds a collection of fine art and sculpture, none of which I have ever seen because it costs six pounds to get in, and I was on my way to Arthur's Seat anyway. The gates, however, are lovely.

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