Queen and Duke of Edinburgh become members of prestigious Order of the Thistle

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh have become members of Scotland's greatest order of chivalry along with leading figures of the nation's life.

The Queen and Prince Edward, who both have strong connections with Scottish institutions and charities, were formally installed as members of the Order of the Thistle during a service at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Leading human rights lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy, forensic anthropologist Baroness Sue Black and Scotland's first black professor Sir Geoff Palmer were also recognised for their contribution to Scotland and installed as either Ladies or Knights of the order.

The King is the sovereign of the order and appointments are his personal gift made independently of Downing Street.

He was part of a procession into the cathedral with the Prince of Wales, also a member of the order, and the other Knights and Ladies who all wore their mantels and Thistle stars.

The Queen was installed as a Royal Lady of the Thistle, while Prince Edward became a Royal Knight during a private ceremony staged in the cathedral's Thistle chapel, but the audio was broadcast to the congregation.

The King began the ceremony by telling his wife: "It is our pleasure Her Majesty the Queen be installed a Lady of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle."

The Queen is patron of Maggie's Cancer Care Centres, founded in Edinburgh in 1996 and now with centres across Scotland, England and Wales.

She is also patron or president of a number of charities based in Scotland, including Crathie Opportunity Holidays, Scotland's Gardens Scheme and Horseback UK, and is an honorary member of the Ballater Women's Institute and the Upper Deeside Art Society.

Prince Edward holds several patronages of Scottish charitable organisations including the Edinburgh International Festival and was joined by his wife Sophie.

The Princess Royal was listed in the order of service as being present at the event but did not attend as she is still recovering from concussion following her recent accident.

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The King takes part in Ceremony of the Keys

The King and Queen will round off their trip to Scotland with a celebration at Edinburgh Castle to mark the city's 900th anniversary.

Each year, the monarch traditionally spends a week based at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, known as Holyrood Week or Royal Week in Scotland.

This year's is shorter than in previous years because the general election has meant the Royal Family has postponed any engagements "which may appear to divert attention or distract from the election campaign".

The King will also be needed for the formal processes in the aftermath of the election, such as the appointment of a government - with the leader of the party that wins a general election usually called to Buckingham Palace following the result.