The Palace of Holyrood House is the official residence of the monarch in Scotland. It is located at the foot of the Royal Mile in front of the Scottish Parliament and against the stunning backdrop of Salisbury Crags and Arthurs Seat. Visitors to the Palace of Holyrood House can explore 14 historic and State Apartments and the ruins of the Holyrood Abbey as well as view exhibitions in the Queen’s Gallery. The Abbey of Holyrood was founded by King David I of Scotland in 1128. The Palace was later constructed by James IV in 1501 – 1505 during preparations for his wedding in 1508. Mary Queen of Scots spent six years in the Palace during a very troubled period of her life and her most personal possessions are displayed in her historic chambers. The Palace was largely rebuilt in the 1660s and further refurbishments were ordered by George IV in 1822. Queen Victoria stayed at the Palace of Holyrood House in 1842 before the final eviction of an nobles in 1852. Part of the Palace was then opened for public viewing. The State Apartments are used regularly by The Queen and other members of the Royal Family for State ceremonies and official entertaining. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh undertake a variety of engagements in Scotland during what is known as ‘Holyrood Week’. Holyrood Week usually runs from the end of June to the beginning of July and is a celebration of Scottish culture, history and achievement. Engagements include the Ceremony of the Keys and an Investiture and Garden Party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, plus a number of regional engagements. The Ceremony of the Keys takes place each year when the Lord Provost of Edinburgh presents the Queen with the keys of the city. There are lots of things to see at the Palace of Holyrood House and the Queen’s Gallery hosts exhibitions from the Royal Collection. The Royal Apartments has a collection of Brussels tapestries that is second to none and finely decorated plasterwork ceilings. One of the most famous rooms in the Palace is the Great Gallery, hung portraits by Jacob de Wet’s of the real and legendary kings of Scotland. There is also a display on the Order of the Thistle, the highest honour in Scotland. Between the 1st of April and the 31st of October visitors can talk a stroll around the Palace gardens which are sometimes used to host Royal garden parties. At the entrance to Holyrood Palace there is a gift shop and café in the Mews Courtyard. The Palace is open most of the year but is closed during Royal visits.