A historic tartan worn by the King as he stood guard at the Queen’s coffin was a “token of respect” and love for Scotland, an expert has said.
The monarch wore the tartan of Prince Charles Edward Stewart – or Stuart – during his visit to the Scottish Parliament and St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh on Monday.
Charles was visiting Scotland as his first engagement in the country as king following the death of the Queen last week aged 96.
He visited Holyroodhouse Palace for a key ceremony before joining the procession of his mother’s coffin up the Royal Mile to St Giles’ Cathedral, where it rested for 24 hours.
The monarch then donned his beloved tartan to pay tribute to his mother in the Scottish Parliament before attending the vigil in the old cathedral.
A variation of the Royal Stewart tartan – a favorite of Elizabeth II – the sett dates back to the early 19th century.
The key difference to the Royal Stewart are the reduced red checks.
According to the Scottish Register of Tartans (SRT), its origins can be traced back to the House of Stewart.
The antique design was first worn by King George IV on his visit north of the border in 1822 – the first by a reigning monarch in almost two centuries.
Later in the 19th century it was warned as a regimental tartan by the 72nd Duke of Albany’s Own, the SRT said.
Kiltmaker Gordon Nicolson – whose shop on the Royal Mile has made tartans for the University of Edinburgh and the John Muir Way – said the king’s choice of the tartan was a tribute to his love of the country.
A keen historian, Charles is a Scottish Tartan Authority patrol and is known for donning many kilts including the Balmoral tartan and the Stewart Hunting.
Mr Nicolson said: “The King was obviously wearing a few outfits yesterday but as he went to Parliament and St Giles he chose to wear his tartan kilt outfit which shows the respect he has when he comes to Scotland.
“He wears a lot of different kilts when he’s out and if he gets some good comments on it maybe that will up the batting order for what he’s going to wear.
“The King’s choice to wear a tartan that is more accessible to other people may be a statement.”
While admirers of the king’s traditional Scottish attire might want to wear their own version of Prince Charles Edward Stewart – its rarity means it has to be specially woven due to its unusual patterns.
But Mr Nicolson said some suppliers may choose to make their own if their popularity increases due to the depiction of the monarch.
In contrast, the Balmoral tartan is restricted to the royal family and the piper to the sovereign.
Mr Nicolson added: “Charles is an icon and a kilt wearer. I think we will eventually get people to choose it because it’s a beautiful tartan.
“It’s not restricted like the Balmoral tartan so anyone can wear it and it makes it more accessible because it means that if someone wanted to follow King Charles they can do so because it’s not restricted.
“People would have to ask for it to be woven if they wanted to wear it.
“But on the back of the king wearing it, it might become popular and some mills might actually weave it and stock it.”