Stewart Court Convenes for the Royal Ruling on the King's New Palace

by Lexa Pennington /
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Apr 28, 2010 / 0 comments






The year is 1542 and at Stirling Castle, work on the sumptuous new palace being built for James V is nearing completion.  But will the king approve?  Will its regal splendour meet his expectations and impress him as a suitably grand seat of power? Or will heads roll?


Come along to the majestic Stirling stronghold to hear the royal verdict on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th May - and enjoy a great day out in the presence of royalty at the splendid Stewart court.


Join James V, Queen Marie de Guise and their entourage at The King’s New Palace as they are welcomed by courtiers and castle staff nervously awaiting their judgement on their magnificent new stately home.  The two-day family event features a large cast of costumed characters and a packed programme of entertainment and activities to bring to life the richness of Renaissance life at Stirling Castle.


Events Manager Nick Finnigan says: “This was a crucial period in the history of Stirling Castle; James V was responsible for enlarging it and increasing its importance by creating a new palace of unparalleled grandeur . We’ve aimed to reflect the excitement of that golden era in this two-day event, The King’s New Palace.


“Our large ensemble cast of historical interpreters and costumed performers will be portraying the key characters of the glittering Stewart court and highlighting the politics, intrigue and conflict of this fascinating era, as well as its weaponry, fashion, food, music, social life, and much more.  We’ve lots going on, with something for all the family to enjoy and a great day out.”


The King’s New Palace is on from 12.30pm to 3.30pm on both days, with all the entertainment and activities included in Stirling Castle’s normal admission price: adults, £9.00, concessions £7.20, children £5.40, and free for Historic Scotland Members. The programme is still being added to, but confirmed are:


12.30pm - Meet The Royals, Great Hall

The royal entourage and key castle characters are introduced and the king and queen are given an update on the progress of their new palace. In-fighting and jealously is rife as parties vie for the attention of the king.


1pm - French Fashion and Finery, Great Hall

Queen Marie is presented with a new dress and there’s a demonstration on the challenging task of dressing a royal. This interesting display covers the fashions of the period, the materials used and how jewellery was displayed.


1.15pm - Military Might, Queen Anne Gardens

Soldiers of the King demonstrate their military prowess with a weaponry demonstration and combat display.


1.30pm - Crime and Punishment, Great Hall

Hear about the 16th century justice system and the view that the punishment should reflect the crime.  The king sits in judgement of cases brought for his consideration.                                      


In between the shows at 1.00pm and 2.00pm, visit the ladies-in-waiting in the Chapel Royal and get a close look at the fashions of the period.


2pm - Make-Up and Grooming, Great Hall

Make–up and grooming obsessions are not a modern phenomenon. Hear about 16th century hair washing and dyeing, hygiene, and how make-up was made and applied.


2.15pm - Crime and Punishment, Queen Anne Gardens                                           

A court could be convened in any venue and a number of cases are brought up to the judge for medieval-style justice.


2.30pm - The Politics of Warfare, Great Hall

Lord Erskine, Captain Lundie and a soldier of the guard conduct a display of weaponry in a effort to impress the king. Discussion and debate takes place on the future conflict with England and a plea for changes in tactics and personnel.


3pm - The King’s Lament, Great Hall 

In his last hours, the king reflects on the Battle of Solway Moss and his regrets of not having a son as his heir. Queen Marie speaks of the future and Scotland’s most famous monarch - Mary, Queen of Scots.


Throughout the afternoon – Castle Kitchens

Drop in at any time to meet the cook and kitchen staff and find out what would have been prepared for a royal feast.




§         Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s grandest castles due to its imposing position and impressive architecture. From the castle’s ramparts, visitors can take in views over two of Scotland’s most important battle sites – Stirling Bridge (1297) and Bannockburn (1314). The castle is at the head of Stirling’s historic old town, off M9 junction 9 or 10. Tel: 01786 450000. For details of opening times and further information on the castle, visit

§         Major conservation work has been carried out at Stirling Castle over many years to preserve the attraction as a major national and international monument. An ambitious £12 million scheme, the Stirling Castle Palace Project, is currently underway to restore and refurbish the Royal Palace at Stirling and present the Royal Lodgings as they might have appeared in the heyday of Scotland’s Stewart court in the mid 16th century. An interpretive display on the court of James V will be created in the palace vaults and a Renaissance Gallery on the upper floors of the palace will house the original Stirling Heads, a rare group of intricately carved oak ceiling medallions depicting kings,queens, courtiers and mythological creatures.  Costumed interpreters will bring to life the history of the 16th century to enrich visitors’ enjoyment.


    * Stirling Castle is one of the most popular of 345 outstanding heritage properties and sites in the care of Historic Scotland.  Ranging from prehistoric dwellings to medieval castles, and from cathedrals to industrial buildings, these include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country.For further details of all of Historic Scotland’s sites visit: and for more information on Stirling Castle, visit:  Historic Scotland’s Mission is: to safeguard Scotland’s historic environment and to promote its understanding and enjoyment.

All information contained herein provided by Historic Scotland.