Clan Carruthers

Clan Carruthers: Royal Celtic Society gets Royal Patron

Royal_Celtic_Society.pngThe Royal Celtic Society (RCS) is based in Edinburgh, Scotland. The RCS has for 200 years been at the cutting edge of activity to support the language, literature, music and culture of the Highlands and Western Islands of Scotland. The Society holds regular events for members, awards medals for excellence in music and literature, and sponsors a wide range of organisations dedicated to the traditions, language and arts of the Highlands and Islands. They support such notable causes as :

  • Clan Macpherson Museum Trust
  • The Clarsach Society
  • Kintyre Piping Society
  • The Argyllshire Gathering
  • Innerleithen Pipe Band
  • Corberry Park Pipers
  • Stockbridge Pipe Band
  • The Northern Meeting
  • Fas Mor Gaelic Playgroup
  • Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming
  • Greyfriars Pipes and Drums
  • Glenfinnan Games
  • RSE@Inverness
  • Taobh na Pairce
  • Peterhead Pipe Band
  • North Uist Highland Games
  • Parkside Primary School Gaelic Class

Our Convenor has recieved word that they have attained Royal Patronage. The following was taken from the Society website:- 


Gordon Casely; Historian, Tom Tait; Tait Armiger, Alan Hay; RCS Chairman, George Carruthers; CCSI Convenor

A New Patron for a New Year

Princess_Royal.jpgWe are delighted to announce that as of today, 1 January 2020, HRH The Princess Royal has become Patron of the Royal Celtic Society, a position she will hold for the duration of this, the Society’s 200th birthday year.

The Celtic Society was founded in Edinburgh on 7 January 1820 by a group of professional and landowning Highlanders who were based in the city.  Its initial objective was to encourage the wearing of Highland Dress, which had fallen out of use during the four decades of its proscription following the Battle of Culloden.  However, the Society quickly added other strings to its bow.

The Celtic Society almost immediately engaged in promoting education in the Highlands, offering a series of prizes which were highly valued and eagerly competed for.  Later, it would emerge as the principal sponsor and defender of the Gaelic language.  This was in the era before the foundation of specifically Gaelic organisations such as An Comunn Gaidhealach and the Gaelic Society of Inverness; the Celtic Society pre-empted all of these organisations in protecting Gaelic language and culture through the Clearance period and following the 1872 Education Act, when it was at its most threatened.

The Society received its ‘Royal’ designation from Queen Victoria in 1873.  Today, it continues in its core purpose to promote the history, languages, traditions, arts and music of Scotland.

Alfred sachsen coburg gothaThe Princess Royal is our first Royal Patron in 12 decades.  In 1840, shortly after his marriage to Queen Victoria, Prince Albert became Patron of the Celtic Society, a position he held until his premature death in 1861.  It is noteworthy that this appointment pre-dates, by several years, the royal couple’s love affair with Highland Scotland.  Prince Albert was a polymath with the most enquiring of minds; he was genuinely interested in the Celtic languages, which he seems to have studied in considerable depth.  In 1864, he was succeeded as patron by his second son, Prince Alfred (pictured), later Duke of Edinburgh and ultimately reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha; there is no record of Prince Alfred relinquishing the position, so the assumption is he remained patron, at least in name, until his death in 1900.

We are most grateful to The Princess Royal for her support in this 200th anniversary year.

About the RCS

Royal_Celtic_Society_Arms_SmallThe Celtic Society was founded in Edinburgh in 1820 at a meeting convened by Captain William Mackenzie of Gruinard.  Those at the first meeting comprised a group of high-profile Highland gentlemen including Colonel David Stewart of Garth, who would be joined three weeks later by Sir Walter Scott, who became the society’s first Vice President. The Society’s first meeting was in Oman’s Tavern, situated very close to where Register House now stands.

The Society quickly became established as the principal promoter and guardian of the heritage of the Highlands and Islands, playing a prominent role in George IV’s historic visit to his Scottish capital in 1822.  It received its ‘Royal’ designation from Queen Victoria in 1873.

The Society was in the vanguard of the Highland renaissance that began in the early 19th century and its role in promoting the language, literature, tradition and culture of the Highlands and Islands was recognised with the grant of a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria.

It is as important today as it was then to preserve the history, language and arts of the Scottish Highlands and Islands. The Royal Celtic Society’s members are people with a passionate commitment to that end. The Society achieves that objective by awarding prizes for excellence in the arts and through a programme of annual and one-off grants to Highland games, music festivals, piping and clarsach groups, folk museums, educational projects (including Gaelic playgroups) and literary projects. The Calendar of Events below illustrates just how active the society is today.

Calendar of Events:

Calendar of Events

Date Event Location
4 January 2020 Lunch to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the first meeting of the Society.  1.00 pm Cafe Royal, West Register Street
17 February 2020 Lecture: Gordon Hay of The Doric Board, on Doric in the 21st Century: a dying 
dialect or a living language?  1.00 pm
Dome Room, New Register House
12th March 2020 Song Over Scotland: An Evening of Gaelic and Scots Song, with David Purdie and Robyn Stapleton
followed by supper.  6.30 pm
Scottish Arts Club,
Rutland Square, Edinburgh
13th March 2020 Lecture: Alex Maxwell Findlater, on The Armorial of Sir David Lyndsay of the Mount
1.00 pm
Dome Room, New Register House
3rd to 8th April 2020 Edinburgh International Harp Festival.  The Royal Celtic Society sponsors Storywalks: 
find the hidden harp, followed by tuition sessions over the weekend of 4th and 5th April
Merchiston Castle School
18th April 2020 Annual Service of Commemoration for the fallen of the Battle of Culloden.  A wreath will
be laid on the Society’s behalf at the cairn.  Gather in the Visitor Centre at 10.00 am
Culloden Battlefield, by Cawdor
22nd April 2020 Drinks and Canape Reception, attended by HRH The Princess Royal, Patron of the society,
to launch The Royal Celtic Society 1820-2020 by Dr Priscilla Scott.  6.00 pm
The Archers’ Hall, Buccleuch
Street, Edinburgh
17th July 2020 North Uist Highland Games Lochmaddy, North Uist
15th August 2020 Glenfinnan Games (sponsored by The Royal Celtic Society) Glenfinnan, Argyll
20th and 21st August
Northern Meeting Piping Competition (sponsored by The Royal Celtic Society) Eden Court Theatre, Inverness
22nd August 2020 Lonach Gathering – hospitality tent to welcome members and supporters Strathdon, Aberdeenshire
27th August 2020 Argyllshire Gathering (sponsored by The Royal Celtic Society) Oban, Argyll
5th September 2020 Royal Braemar Gathering – hospitality tent to welcom members and supporters Princess Royal and Duke of Fife
Memorial Park, Braemar,
10th October 2020 Moot to debate the question Was the infant MacWilliam execution lawful? featuring
teams of students from the Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh.  Panel of judges
Dr Joseph Morrow, the Lord Lyon King of Arms; Hon Lord Minginish, President of the Land
Court; with Hon Lady Wolffe presiding.  10.00 am to 1.00 pm followed by
a tour of Parliament Hall, then a reception hosted by Councillor Frank Ross, the
Rt Hon the Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh
Court No. 1, Parliament House,
followed by reception at
the City Chambers
11th October 2020 Service of Thanksgiving for 200 Years of The Royal Celtic Society Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh
27th October 2020 Lecture: Kirsty Archer-Thompson, of Abbotsford  House, on Sir Walter Scott and Celtic Scotland.
1.00 pm
Dome Room, New Register House
7th December 2020 Lecture: Very Rev Dr Emsley Nimmo, Dean Emeritus of the Diocese
of Aberdeen and Orkney in the Scottish Episcopal Church.  Title tba.  1.00 pm
Dome Room, New Register House,

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