In the year marking the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, two rare examples of regimental Colours will go on display at Edinburgh Castle for the very last time in a special exhibit to commemorate this famous battle.
Due to open in May, the display will be the last opportunity that members of the public will have to view the surviving pair of Colours or flags of the 3rd Battalion of The Royal Scots – the oldest regiment in the British Army – which accompanied the Battalion into battle on the 18th June 1815.
Once carried by The Royal Scots into a number of battles, including Waterloo, these regimental honours depict their own and the King’s colours, with the royal cypher of King George III, representing honour and traditions as a symbol for rallying during the battle.
The large 6ft by 6ft painted silk flags have become so fragile with age, at more than two centuries old, that this display will mark the last time that they will be available for public viewing.
Following this last showing, in partnership with The Royal Scots Regimental Museum based within the walls of Edinburgh Castle, the colours will be permanently archived to ensure their preservation.
During the Battle of Waterloo four officers and a sergeant major, belonging to the 3rd Battalion of The Royal Scots, gave their lives trying to save the Colours from being captured during the battle.
Lorna Ewan, Head of Visitor Experience, Content and Learning for Historic Scotland, said: “The Royal Scots regiment has a long association with Edinburgh Castle and it is remarkable that these Colours, which were once carried onto the battlefield at Waterloo, will be displayed for the last time, during this, the year which commemorates the 200th anniversary of the battle.
“The display, which will be in Edinburgh Castle’s Great Hall, will offer our visitors a final opportunity to view these unique examples of Scottish regimental colours.”
Colonel Robert Watson, Trustee of The Royal Scots Regimental Museum, added: “At more than 200 years old, these Colours, belonging to the oldest formed regiment in the British Army, are incredibly fragile objects.
“The display will not only mark the bicentenary of the Battle, it will also be the first time for a great number of generations that many people will be able to look upon these exceptional artefacts before they are retired from public view.”
Following their final display, they will be transferred to permanent archive storage within the Regimental Museum at Edinburgh Castle.
The regimental Colours of the 3rd Battalion of The Royal Scots from the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 will be on public view at Edinburgh Castle from early May.