On the Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd September, step back in time and join Mary Queen of Scots and her entourage in Kinross, as she attends the Joust.

Mary would go on many journeys, called Progress, through Scotland, during her reign. It was an essential part of being a King or Queen during this time. Facebook, tabloid newspapers and TV were of course non-existent, so the only way to see or be seen, and gain the loyalty of the people, was to travel.

This was no easy undertaking – on one particular progress, over 30 carts went with Mary. These carts were full to the brim with tents, kitchens, tapestries, candles, bedding, beds, chairs, tables, clothing, weapons, silverware, everything a Queen would need to impress and keep her “comfortable”. Mary of course did not travel alone, The Four Mary’s were always with her, along with her very own; priest, advisors, knights, guards, maids, cooks, falconer …. the list goes on and on, and remember- all those people needed their belongings and equipment too!

On entering the Royal Encampment in Kinross you will first see the magnificent Jousting List.  Mary’s Knights and those invited from other countries will be trying to impress Mary and win her favour. They will be practicing in the quintain, possibly by trying to chop vegetables in half as they ride towards them on horseback! The Knights’ Squires will be making sure the armour is polished, the horses groomed, the lances ready.

Over the thunder of the horses hoofs you may be able to hear the blacksmith hammering away as he makes horseshoes, fixes pots and pans for the kitchens and make nails for the carpenters. Next to him the Royal Armourers will be ready to fix any weapons and plate armour damaged in the joust.

As you move through the encampment stop at the kitchens and talk to the Royal Cook as she prepares some of the 60 different dishes Mary would be offered over the day. Marvel at the sugar cones, the pile of pies, the cheese rounds and the jugs of ale and wine.

Visit the Ladies making 16th century toys from clay, have a go at topiary, and learn the medieval art of Calligraphy. After seeing everyday life in the encampment, the highlight will be visiting Mary in the Royal Tent. Her Ladies in waiting will welcome you and show you around the sumptuous tent and explain how to dress a Royal Lady in all her finery.

Mary’s personal priest will also be present and happy to talk to you about religion and the changing ways of the country. If you prove to be worthy, take a knee or show your best curtsy as you meet Mary Queen of Scots herself!

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