Last week saw the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh, the annual conference of the Kirk where our Chief, the Earl of Erroll, is involved in the ceremonial in his capacity as hereditary Lord High Constable of Scotland.
The week kicks off with a grand procession through the city to General Assembly Hall on The Mound, including all the great and the good of Scottish Chivalry. In addition to the Lord High Constable, this impressive event includes the Master of the Royal Household (the Duke of Argyll, Chief of Clan Campbell), the hereditary Bearer of the Royal Banner (the Earl of Dundee, Chief of Clan Scrymgeour), the hereditary Bearer of the National Flag (the Earl of Lauderdale, Chief of Clan Maitland) and the Lord Lyon King of Arms (the Rt Hon David Sellar) and his heralds.
This highlight of the Scottish ceremonial calendar is presided over by a Lord High Commissioner who is appointed for the occasion to be the personal representative of the Queen. This year the role was ably filled by Lord Selkirk of Douglas who will be more familiar to most readers as Lord James Douglas-Hamilton, for many years member of parliament for Edinburgh West and latterly member of the Scottish Parliament for the Lothians.
This was a controversial week for the Kirk, which saw two of its ministers defecting to the Free Church of Scotland over one of the several difficult issues debated. A highlight, though, was the address given to the Assembly by the Most Rev Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury and himself a Welshman. This is the first time the head of the Church of England has been invited to the Assembly as a guest speaker. His typically thoughtful presentation was well received.