Birthday Bench To Be Presented To Queen

5 July 2016, 07:26 | Updated: 5 July 2016, 07:27

The Queen

Nicola Sturgeon will present the Queen with a commemorative stone bench at the annual Garden Party at the Palace of Holyrood House.

The First Minister said the hand-crafted gift comes with the "warm wishes'' of the people of Scotland in the Queen's 90th birthday year.

Clashach stone from Moray has been used to create the bench and its timber seating slats are made from a felled elm tree planted at Holyroodhouse under the direction of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria.

Designed by Historic Environment Scotland and crafted by modern apprentice stonemasons based in Elgin, it has been carved with a rose, Lion Rampant and stag's head motifs.

The Garden Party takes place on Tuesday afternoon following an investiture which will see leading molecular biologist Professor Anne Glover and Scottish Parliament chief executive Paul Grice honoured with a damehood and knighthood respectively.

Ms Sturgeon, who had an audience with the Queen at Holyroodhouse on Monday, said: ``On behalf of the people of Scotland I would like to personally send our warm wishes to Her Majesty The Queen on her 90th birthday.

"Last year we were fortunate to be able to celebrate with Her Majesty as she became the United Kingdom and Commonwealth's longest-serving monarch.

"It was an incredible day and it was clear the huge affection Her Majesty had for Scotland and the tremendous bond she has forged with people across our country over her many years of dedicated public service.

"Our present was specially designed with Her Majesty in mind and each carved element required many hours of focused concentration and advanced stonemasonry skills.

"I would like to join the thousands of people across the country toasting Her Majesty as her birthday celebrations continue during her annual visit during Royal Week in Scotland.''

Designer David Storrar from Historic Environment Scotland said: "It was a huge privilege to be asked to help with making a gift on behalf of Scotland to Her Majesty, and our staff were very excited to be involved.

"It was a real team effort and we're delighted with the final product.''

Stonemason apprentice Charlotte Brough added: "I was very honoured to be asked to do the cavetto surrounding the lettering on the bench, and also quite nervous knowing it would be presented to the Queen. I'm really pleased with the result.''

Dame Anne Glover, being honoured for services to science, is vice principal for external affairs and Dean for Europe at Aberdeen University, and a former chief scientific adviser to the president of the European Commission.

Sir Paul Grice has been the Scottish Parliament's clerk and chief executive since its establishment in 1999.