Scotland 5 Day 55
04.24.16 | Edinburgh Flat | 22:10
I think that the workers at Holyrood Palace are upset with me. I don’t think the Queen is going to invite me over to tea after today, not anytime soon. I have a story to share today- I’m going to start out by saying that today was excellent!
Months ago I was looking at my family tree. I was cruising up one of the lines on my mom’s side of the family, and all of a sudden I found ties to royalty! This was very exciting- I think it’s high time that all of my friends started treating me as royalty. I found that I am a descendant of James II of Scotland, that is if my family pedigree chart is accurate. I’ve blogged about this once in the past.
Before this trip to Scotland began, I looked up some information about James II and found out that he was buried at the Abbey at Holyrood Palace. This is great news because I also found out that touring the Abbey was included in the admission price. I was planning on coming to Edinburgh anyway- so I set a goal to find James II’s burial plot.
When I was in Edinburgh last month, I went to the palace and asked one of the workers if she knew where he had been buried. She said she didn’t, but went to speak with one of her supervisors. The supervisor said that the grave had been desecrated in one of the wars. He told me that some of the grave had been preserved, however. He said that if I purchased the entry fee, he would show me where it was. I thought this was very kind of him, but at the time I had gone over on my vacation spending budget, so I told him I’d have to think about it.
Fast forward to yesterday. Since I’m now back in Edinburgh and had kept to my budget so well over the past few weeks, I had enough to buy the ticket and explore the palace grounds. When I was about to pay the entry fee, I asked the same question and if someone could take me to where James II was originally buried. She left to go get another supervisor. She came back with directions to his burial place but said I may or may not be able to get an escort on the inside.
I told the supervisor that I understood. I’m sure the workers had plenty that they needed to be doing. I took note of the directions and paid the entry fee. The tour starts in the courtyard and then from there it leads you into the palace. You get to see so much artwork on the walls and the most awesome part about all this is the fact that this is still a royal residence. This is where Queen Elizabeth stays when she comes to Scotland.
After the palace tour, you walk over to the Abbey. I was so excited! The Abbey is, of course, in ruins but they are trying to preserve what remains. Following the instructions, I walked to the far-right, back corner to find the place where James II had been buried. I looked around and was able to find mention of his queen wife, but nothing about the King himself. I looked around some more. So many of the old markers had been worn out from so much exposure to the elements and I thought that maybe one of those worn out ones might be his.
I started to look for one of the workers to see if he/she would know which marker was the right one. I found one employee who didn’t appear to be busy and asked him if he could point me in the right direction. He replied with a very smug tone, “Oh, you must be that American boy looking for James II.” I didn’t know what to say, but I smiled as politely as I could and told him I was. Then he says (and I’m not even joking), “Yes, I know where he is buried, but I can’t tell you.”
Now, wait a minute! Before I’d paid the money to get onto the grounds, everyone had been so kind and sounded so willing to help. Now that I was in here, I had this [pick a swear word], smug, [choose another swear word, any word will do] talking down to me, what a [pick one more swear word and add the suffix ‘tard’ to the end of it]. I didn’t really have an attitude with him but these are the thoughts that were going through my head. What’s wrong with talking to me like I’m a person? I replied, “Oh don’t worry- I’ll find it myself. Sorry to trouble you!” and headed back over to the abbey. It’s not like I wanted to steal the King’s remains, for heaven’s sake!
More looking, but I found nothing. Just the marker for James’ wife’s burial place (who was actually buried somewhere else, but later exhumed and moved to this abbey). I decided I’d finish my tour and be done with it. As I walked through the gardens, this was sort of weighing on my conscience. I was upset and frustrated but there wasn’t anything I could do. I’ll just get over it, I thought.
I noticed that they were doing some excavation work on one of the garden lawns. They had discovered that there were once more buildings, just east of the abbey. That was cool- it looked like something out of an Indiana Jones movie, or Jurassic Park, or something like that. I took a couple pictures and moved on.
Finally, I reached the end of the tour and was getting ready to turn in my audio guide and told the last worker of my frustration. First, she said to me, “Oh, you’re the American looking for James II?” but she didn’t say it condescending at all, unlike her coworker had. I laughed and told her that was me. She asked me if I found the site. I told her I hadn’t yet, and so she told me to go back and look at that excavation site. The far northeast corner is where James II had been originally buried.
Yes, the site had been desecrated and the body had been exhumed but they somehow managed to get parts of the body back and they were reburied in that same area! So- I had found the spot! Now I’m grinning, and I ask her if I could hug her. She laughed and hugged me.
I walked back into the garden to find the place where James had been buried. I got to the area of the excavation and stood silent for a moment, lost in thought. I knelt down on the grass to just sit and listen. Then after awhile, I said, “Hey James! I just wanted to say hello. I hope you’re doing well!” Luckily nobody was around to witness this. I sat for another moment, then stood up while wiping the tears from my eyes. I turned around and made my way off of the palace grounds.