The Festival! The Fringe! Street theatre! The Edinburgh Military tattoo and the massed pipes and drums! Glorious sunshine one day, a Biblical downpour the next! It was much the same 200 years ago when King George IV paid an official visit to Edinburgh.
In August 1822 the entertainment, the bagpipes and the street theatre came from the processions, parades, banquets and balls threaded through his two-week stay in the Scottish capital. Masterminded by Sir Walter Scott, the visit also saw – sort of – a gathering of the clans. A welcome splash of colour on the rainy days, tartan and Highland dress were everywhere.
Even the King wore the kilt. Unfortunately, the tailor made it too short. His legs didn’t look so good anyway, so he wore pink tights to cover them. He looks great in this portrait by Sir David Wilkie. The artist may just have flattered him a wee bit.
The cartoonists of the time had a field day. They were savage.
The contradictions and ironies of the visit were many. You can read more about it in my Historia article.