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Special ceremony as historic Royal Mile monument restored

The ancient Mercat Cross in Edinburgh has been restored to its former glory.

Ceremony: Lord Lyon, King of Arms led the event.
Ceremony: Lord Lyon, King of Arms led the event. British Army

A special ceremony has taken place to rededicate Edinburgh's historic Mercat Cross.

The monument, which has been at the heart of Scotland's civic life for centuries, has undergone three months of conservation work.

Throughout history the Mercat Cross was used for different types of proclamations, including the accession of a new monarch.

The current structure on the Royal Mile was created in the Victorian period but the plinth which mounts a carved unicorn dates back to the 15th Century.

Its decorations were restored and its roof was replaced during the restoration work, which was overseen by Historic Environment Scotland.

Edinburgh: Monument used for royal proclamations.
Edinburgh: Monument used for royal proclamations. City of Edinburgh Council

Wednesday's ceremony was led by the Lord Lyon King of Arms and the Lord Provost of Edinburgh.

The Royal Regiment of Scotland formed an honour guard during the event.

Lord Provost Frank Ross said: "The Mercat Cross has been at the heart of civic life for centuries.

"It has witnessed all manner of announcements, celebrations and proclamations over the last 150 years, including news of the Queen's accession to the throne in 1952.

"It's incredibly striking to see images of it surrounded by hundreds of people, horses and carriages and the bustling trade of Edinburgh's 19th century Old Town.

"Now, the Mercat Cross is back at its finest after careful restoration of its stonework and repainting.

"The investment will help to preserve its character for many more years to come."

The Lord Lyon King of Arms, Joseph Morrow, added: "The restoration of the Mercat Cross has been an excellent example of collaborative work.

"It has been used for different types of proclamations over a long period of time and I am delighted to be able to take this chance to celebrate the excellent work of restoration which has been done and which enhances the High Street."

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