Queen to officially ­reopen Abbotsford

Katherine Milby of Abbotsford inspects the crucifix Mary Queen of Scots took to her execution before the reopening to the public next month.
Katherine Milby of Abbotsford inspects the crucifix Mary Queen of Scots took to her execution before the reopening to the public next month.

The final touches are being made to Abbotsford ahead of the Queen’s visit next week, when she will open the refurbished house.

The Royal visit will take place the day before the historic property reopens to the public. Her Majesty will be given a tour of the house, and will view the visitor centre, where she will unveil a plaque commemorating the occasion.

The Queen will also be introduced to guests at the opening reception, including trustees and employees of the Abbotsford Trust, the trust’s funding partners and a number of Sir Walter Scott’s descendants from the UK and overseas.

Lord Sanderson, chairman of the trust, said: “The Abbotsford Trust is delighted that Her Majesty the Queen accepted our invitation to officially reopen this historic property.

“Abbotsford is one of the most famous houses in the world, built by a man whose cultural and literary legacy cannot be underestimated.

“We believe that Abbotsford is set to become both an important cultural centre and tourist destination for the Scottish Borders and are honoured that Her Majesty will be one of the first people to tour this rejuvenated attraction.”

It has taken almost two years and £8million to carry out the vital restoration work of Sir Walter Scott’s former home, but with visitor numbers of up to 80,000 anticipated, the hope is that the work will put Abbotsford firmly back on the map for tourists.

At a preview event in the house this week, deputy chief executive of the trust, Beverley Rutherford, said everything was on schedule for the official opening.

She added: “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Dame Jean and Lady Patricia as they dedicated their lives to Abbotsford and used all their savings and income to keep the building wind and watertight, which really saved it, to be honest.

“If it wasn’t for them, things could have been in a much worse state of repair.”

Abbotsford will open to the public at 9am next Thursday.

During her visit to the region next week, the Queen will also visit Peebles, including the John Buchan Story.

The Lord Lieutenant of Tweeddale, Lord Younger, has urged the public to come out and welcome Her Majesty to the town.