The Fourth Session of the Scottish Parliament will be marked on Friday 1 July in a ceremony which will continue the Scottish tradition of bringing together the people, the Parliament and Her Majesty The Queen.
The day will commence in the morning with the Crown of Scotland being processed to the Parliament. In the Chamber, The Queen will address newly elected Members of the Scottish Parliament and guests. Following this, The Queen will meet ten members of the public whose stories about how devolution has impacted on their lives have been captured in the Parliamentary exhibition ‘Moving Stories’. The exhibition has travelled across Scotland for the past two years and been seen by more than 250,000 people across Scotland.
Following the departure of The Queen, a ‘riding’ of the Royal Mile will take place, marking the centuries-old Scots tradition of Parliament and people working in public partnership. This essential part of the ceremonial of the old Scots Parliament was successfully updated to mark the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, the Holyrood building in 2004 and the start of Session Three in 2007.
MSPs will once again be inviting local heroes from their area to come to Holyrood to take part in the ‘riding’, ensuring it reflects Scotland’s achievements and aspirations.
In total, the Session Four Riding will involve around 2,000 people selected to highlight achievements across every constituency and region of Scotland.
Its route will take it through the Old Town to Holyrood and into Holyrood Park.
Following this, the Scottish Parliament will open its doors to guests and members of public with an Open Day, free tours and musical performances to showcase young Scottish talent.
Further details of the programme will be announced in May.
Presiding Officer the Rt Hon Alex Fergusson MSP said: "As we look past the coming election to the start of the fourth session of the Scottish Parliament it is right that, once again, the people of Scotland are placed at the heart of events. It is these people that MSPs represent and who will provide the inspiration for the deliberations and decisions in the coming session.
"Bringing together such a wide cross-section of Scottish society with the Parliament and The Queen reflects Scotland’s rich heritage and future aspirations."
The budget for the event is capped at £50,000. This will include the transport and accommodation costs for the ‘riding’ participants, who will represent all walks of Scottish civic society and be drawn from every constituency and region of the country.
Under Parliament’s Standing Orders and following consultation with party leaders, the Presiding Officer has indicated his intention for the first meeting of the new parliamentary session to be on Wednesday 11 May 2011. The current four-year parliamentary session will draw to a close at midnight on Tuesday 22 March and dissolution therefore begins immediately thereafter on Wednesday 23 March.
As in previous years, an ecumenical Kirking of the Parliament will take place on Tuesday 10 May at 18.00 in St Giles’ Cathedral. Further details on this will be provided to Members when they receive their welcome letters from the Clerk / Chief Executive immediately after the election.