Royals attend Order of the Thistle service at St Giles’ Cathedral

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at St Giles' Cathedral. Picture: Alan Simpson/PA

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at St Giles' Cathedral. Picture: Alan Simpson/PA

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THREE generations of the royal family have been represented at a special service in Edinburgh – as hundreds of onlookers lined the streets to greet them.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh took part in a thanksgiving service for the Order of the Thistle at the city’s St Giles’ Cathedral.

They were joined at the event by their daughter the Princess Royal and grandson the Duke of Cambridge, who is known in Scotland as the Earl of Strathearn.

The event took place as the Queen continues her official engagements in Scotland.

A trumpet fanfare marked the start of the event as the four royals, who are members of the order themselves, arrived at St Giles’.

They joined a procession through the cathedral leading to the Thistle Chapel, a small space founded in 1911 for these ceremonies.

All were dressed for the event in the ceremonial mantles of the order.

The party was accompanied by others who hold the honour, including Lord Smith of Kelvin, Lord Steel and Lord Cullen.

They looked on as the service in the full-to-capacity cathedral featured readings, hymns and prayers.

After the ceremony, the Queen was greeted by the Royal Company of Archers – her official bodyguards in Scotland – and musicians from the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

As they departed, onlookers who had crowded into the Royal Mile were rewarded with a glimpse of the royal party.

The Order of the Thistle is the greatest order of chivalry in Scotland. It honours Scottish men and women who have held public office or contributed in a particular way to public life.

newsen@edinburghnews.com