Water Scott was one of Scotland’s greatest writers. He is best known for his series of magnificent historical novels, the first being 'Waverley' (1814). His great interest in Scotland’s past led Scott to believe that the long-lost Regalia, or Honours of Scotland, were somewhere in Edinburgh Castle, and he set up a Commission to trace them.
More than a hundred years before, in 1707, the Treaty of Union between the Scots and English parliaments stated that the Crown, Sword of State, and Sceptre must always remain in Scotland. But in case the Honours were to become a symbol of Scottish independence, they had been packed safely into a strongbox in the Crown Room of Edinburgh Castle – locked, barred with double doors, and the key ‘lost’ for over a hundred years.
In 1818 Scott petitioned the Prince Regent to allow the room and chest to be broken open. Wrapped in linen cloths were the Honours of Scotland, safe and unharmed.
The Honours of Scotland are the earliest surviving Crown Jewels in Europe. Today they are proudly on display again, in Edinburgh Castle’s well guarded Crown Room.