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Frequently Asked Questions

When is the Children's Gala Day?

The Gala Day is held on the Saturday following the Linlithgow Marches.
The definition of the date for The Marches is:
The first Tuesday after the second Thursday in June.

The next Gala Day is Saturday, 22nd June 2013

The Gala Day procession starts at 12 noon. The Ceremonies at The Peel start from approximately 1:00 pm. The Ceremonies usually finish between 2:00 pm and 2:30 pm.

Where does the Gala happen?

The Gala Day takes place in the historic Royal Town of Linlithgow and Linlithgow Bridge, West Lothian, Scotland.
Linlithgow is less than 20 miles from Edinburgh and 35 miles from Glasgow. It is well served by road with links to the Motorway network at junctions 3 and 4 of the M9. There are frequent links by rail from Edinburgh and Glasgow.


The Children's Gala Procession starts from Linlithgow Bridge at 12 noon. The procession moves from Main Street along Falkirk Road, High Street towards the Cross. From the Cross the Procession continues along to the Low Port and then returns again to the Cross.From the Cross the Procession continues towards Linlithgow Palace and The Peel at Linlithgow Loch.

Please note that road diversions and closures are put in place and controlled by the police on the Gala Day for the duration of the procession. The diversions are entirely within the control of the police. As a guide the road closures have been implemented from approximately 11:00 am to 1:30 pm in previous years. However these arrangements are decided by the police with no reference to the Gala Day Committee and may change in any year.

Gala Day Queen Crowning Ceremony

The Crowning of the Children's Gala Day Queen takes place on the stage erected at The Peel following the procession at approximately 1:00 pm.
This is followed by entertainment at The Peel.

Wet Weather

If the weather is wet the retinue may be transported by bus to St Michael's Church for the Crowning Ceremony. (Parents must remember their wet weather tickets as space is strictly limited. Entry will be refused without a ticket.)

The procession will still take place, with those consenting to take part, if the bands can still play!

Who are the characters?

The Gala Day Queen & Retinue are chosen by drawing lots.
The names of participants are drawn from P1, P4 & P7 girls and P1 & P7 boys attending Linlithgow Bridge Primary, Linlithgow Primary, Low Port Primary, Springfield Primary & St Joseph's Primary. The children must also live within the area defined by the rules of the Gala Day. If a child does not meet all of these requirements then they will not be entered into the drawing of lots. Any clarification should be sought from the Gala Day Committee. Parents do have a chance to withdraw their child's name from the draw through their school.
Parents are informed in early February if their child is invited to take part in the Gala. Written acceptance of the invitation is required, usually by the end of the 2nd week in February.

The Retinue for the Gala Day is made up of the following children:

Chief Lady in Waiting
1st Lady in Waiting
2nd Lady in Waiting
1st Maid of Honour
2nd Maid of Honour
Fairy Queen
Flower Queen
Mary Queen of Scots
Trainbearer (2) - Primary 1
Crown Bearer - Primary 1 boy
Sceptre Bearer - Primary 1 boy
Scottish Soldier (2) - Primary 7
Guard of Honour (12) - Primary 7
Bower Girls (12) - Primary 7
Fairies - Primary 1
Flower Girls - Primary 4
Flag Bearers (2) - Primary 7

The Parents Meeting

A parents meeting is held about 2 weeks after the deadline for acceptance. This is early March. A lot of information is given at this meeting about rehearsals, the format of the Gala Day activities and other arrangements. Questions can also be asked of the Gala Day Committee members. It is highly recommended that the parents of the paired participants meet and exchange contact details. This will be needed later to discuss such things as dress styles & colours, fittings and other arrangements.

At the Parents Meeting photographs are taken of the following participants for possible publication in the Gala Day Programme.

Queen Elect
Chief Lady in Waiting


Rehearsals start 6 weeks before the Gala Day.
They are usually held every Tuesday night (except for Marches Day), starting the second week in May.
Details of the rehearsals are given in the information provided at the Parents Meeting. Details are also available in the password protected Parents Information area of the web site.

What costumes are needed?

Guidance is given by the Gala Day Committee.

The Fairies are to be dressed in white knee length dresses with wings, wand and head dress.

All of the other girls must be dressed in their matched pairs.
The dresses are to be either full length or ballerina length.
Any colour can be chosen for the dresses.
The same colour of dress for all of the Flower Girls or Bower Girls is not necessary. However the same colour theme for each pair of girls must be maintained.

Flower Girls require a basket of flowers to carry during the procession. Parents are provided with details of the requirements at the Parents Meeting.

Bower Girls carry a frame decorated with flowers during the proceedings. Parents are provided with details of the requirements at the Parents Meeting.

The boys are required to wear a traditional kilt outfit on the Gala Day. Arrangements are made by Gala Day Committee for the boys to be measured for the outfits. Measurements are normally taken the same week of the Parents Information Meeting in March. The parents are responsible for payment of the kilt hire. The Committee provides the halberds that are carried by the Guards during the Gala Day.

The Main Retinue and Flower Girls take part in The Marches almost a year after the Gala Day. Try to ensure that there is enough growing room in the costumes!

Gala Day Photographs

There are no official photographs.

Decoration of the participants houses

Decoration of houses is a matter left entirely to the parents discretion.
There is no requirement for a decorated arch or house front.

The Gala Day Committee are unable to give any guidelines or assistance in decoration.


A competition is held in which the decorated houses are judged and prizes awarded.
It is not necessary to enter the competition.

There are a number of categories in the competition, including:

Small decorated arch
Large decorated arch
Decorated house front

An entry form is distributed to each of the children taking part at one of the rehearsals.
The form is to be returned by the rehearsal before the Marches (the first week in June).

Judging of the competition

Judging is held on the morning of the Children's Gala.
The judging starts at 08:00 am!
An early start to a busy day!

The houses are usually decorated on the Friday before the Gala Day. (It can take a lot longer than you think to put up the complex structures.)

Viewing the decorations

There is a tradition of people viewing all of the decorated houses.
This takes place from the Friday evening to the Sunday morning. Traffic chaos can occur in narrow streets!

Most of the decorations are removed on the Sunday afternoon. The larger decorated house fronts are usually removed during the week.

After the Gala Day

Gala Queen Duties

The Gala Queen has a number of duties and appearances to carry out through the year of her reign. On a number of these occasions the Gala Queen is assisted by her Trainbearers.

The events attended by the Gala Day Queen include:

The Linlithgow Union Canal Society Fun Day
Welcoming Santa at the Linlithgow Union Canal Basin
Switching on the Linlithgow Christmas Lights
The Linlithgow Marches

Please note that the above questions are meant as a guide only and may change at any time without notice. The latest position must be sought from the Committee.

Site developed & maintained by: Ewan Greig

Page Last Updated: 29 January 2013
Disclaimer: The factual accuracy of the contents has not been independently checked. The information is offered as is, with no warranty. No liability is accepted for anything or any losses as a result of information contained in these pages.

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