Scottish Castles Association

Preserving the Past for the Future

Edinburgh Castle Royal Birthing Room Reopened to Public

Edinburgh Castle birth room

Edinburgh Castle room where James VI (right) was born

Edinburgh Castle has reopened the room where Mary, Queen of Scots gave birth to James VI.

The tiny bed-closet where Mary gave birth in the royal palace on 19 June 1566, is a room with very special significance for Great Britain as James VI of Scotland was to become James I of England by the Union of the Crowns in 1603.

Visitors to Edinburgh Castle can still see the doorway in Crown Square decorated for the event with a gilded panel bearing the date 1566, and the intertwined initials of Mary along with those of her husband Lord Henry Darnley.

After a long and difficult labour the baby was safely delivered

This door leads to Mary's spacious inner chamber, perched high above the Royal Mile, where her bed was hung in blue taffeta and velvet - this was her 'presentation' bed, as opposed to the bed in the tiny Cabinet in which she actually gave birth to the future King.

The midwife, Margaret Asteane, was generously equipped with a new gown of black velvet, and a cradle was prepared with expensive fabric. After a long and difficult labour, the baby was safely delivered with a fine caul (birth membrane) over his face, considered at the time be a sign of good fortune.

After news of the future King of Scots' birth, 500 bonfires were lit across Edinburgh and a royal salute was fired from the castle. His baptism was celebrated at Stirling with the first recorded fireworks display in Scotland.

Added: 06 Jan 2014 Updated: 13 Oct 2023
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