As wedding fever grows ahead of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s impending nuptials, a venue with royal connections has been launched at Floors Castle at Kelso.
Constructed in 1867 as a place for Queen Victoria to take tea during her visit to the 1720s-built country house, now home to the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe, Guy and Victoria Innes-Ker, the Queen’s House is a summerhouse in its gardens.
Newly renovated by the duchess, an interior designer, it is now available for use as a venue for intimate ceremonies or as part of a larger garden wedding.
She said: “The Queen’s House offers couples the opportunity to use this intimate and historic summerhouse as part of a beautiful garden wedding here at Floors Castle.
“Built for royalty, it played a very special part in the history of the castle and the Scottish Borders and really is fit for a queen.”
Queen Victoria’s three-day visit to Floors Castle was reportedly a grand occasion, with spectators cheering and waving hats, caps and handkerchiefs as she arrived in Kelso, via the original Waverley Route.
Pavilions, platforms and arches were erected and festooned with flowers and laurel wreathes.
A procession of local dignitaries and bands marched through the streets to greet her, houses were decorated with flags and flowers, buildings in Kelso were illuminated at night and beacons were lit on surrounding hilltops.
The queen, on the throne from 1837 to 1901, stayed at Floors Castle for two nights en route for Balmoral in Aberdeenshire and visited Melrose, Jedburgh and Abbotsford during her stay.
The summerhouse in which she took afternoon tea is set in the castle’s French-style millennium garden.
Its newly-refurbished interior features botanical and palm prints adorning the walls as a reminder of the many exotic plants and flowers that would have been found in the glasshouses that adjoined the historic property in Victorian times.
Examples of Meissen china, as used during the royal visit, hang above its door.
Two etchings of Victoria’s Kelso visit and newspaper cuttings from the time also remind guests of the venue’s royal credentials.