The King and Queen will visit the Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor centre in Galashiels, the Scottish Borders on Thursday 6 July 2023. Their Majesties’ visit to view one of the world’s largest community arts projects coincides with the 10th anniversary of the Tapestry’s unveiling.
In celebration of the Royal visit, the visitor centre will be open to the public for free from 1 pm to 5 pm on 6 July to give everyone an opportunity to be among the first to see a specially designed new Tapestry panel commemorating the historic occasion.
Speaking ahead of The Royal visit, Sandy Maxwell-Forbes, Centre Director at The Great Tapestry of Scotland said: “It is the greatest honour to be welcoming The King and Queen to The Great Tapestry of Scotland in Galashiels. I look forward to introducing them to some of the individuals who were instrumental in creating the Tapestry and one of the nation’s top-rated visitor experiences right here in Galashiels.
“This marks a significant moment in the Tapestry’s extraordinary success story and, as the home of the people’s story of Scotland, we wanted to commemorate this by revealing a new tapestry panel dedicated to our recently crowned King and Queen. This will build on the Tapestry’s intricately detailed panels already dedicated to telling Scotland’s royal history.”
Now in its permanent home in the once thriving textile region of the Scottish Borders, The Great Tapestry of Scotland tells a visually compelling account of the people’s story of Scotland from millions of years BC to the present day. This includes key moments in royal history such as the stories of King Macbeth, St Margaret of Scotland, Mary Queen of Scots and her son James VI of Scotland and I of England, Queen Victoria and her particular love of Scotland, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation.
Their Majesties will be introduced to Centre Director Sandy Maxwell-Forbes who will escort them into the gallery to meet some the thousand people from across Scotland who handstitched the Tapestry, alongside author Alexander McCall Smith who conceived the idea of The Great Tapestry, fundraiser and tour manager Jan Rutherford, artist Andrew Crummy MBE and Alistair Moffat, a historian who decided which episodes in Scottish history would feature in the Tapestry. Their Majesties will hear about the history of the Tapestry before also being introduced to more of the people who made the tapestry and the visitor centre the success it is today. Reflecting Her Majesty’s particular appreciation for embroidery, The Queen will also add the final stitch to the new panel.
Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor centre, operated by the culture and leisure charity Live Borders, opened to great media and visitor acclaim in Galashiels in August 2021. The attraction received five stars, the highest rating possible in VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance Scheme, following its first-ever quality assurance grading visit. This was described by VisitScotland, Scotland’s national tourism organisation, as ‘an exceptional achievement for a new visitor attraction’. The Centre’s five star status was retained following their second inspection this year
Located close to Galashiels Transport Interchange, the centre is part of a critical town centre regeneration project which has received investment from the Scottish Government through its Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, the Borders Railway Blueprint programme and Scottish Borders Council.
The centre was purpose built to house The Great Tapestry of Scotland, one of the world’s longest tapestries. Hand-stitched by a team of 1,000 stitchers from across Scotland, The Tapestry charts 420 million years of Scotland’s history, heritage, innovations and culture through 160 compelling panels.