• C
  • Julian Calder
Queen of Scots, Sovereign of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle and Chief of the Chiefs (born 1926) Photographed in 2010 (printed 2013)
  • Scottish Art
In this portrait Queen Elizabeth II is presented as Sovereign of The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of The Thistle, a chivalric order that dates from the seventeenth century. Her Majesty wears the robes of the Order and insignia bearing the emblem of the thistle (the national flower of Scotland) and the cross of Saint Andrew (the patron saint of both the nation and the Order). Evoking the great paintings by Sir Henry Raeburn, the photographer presents the viewer with a formal portrait set against a highland backdrop. The photograph was taken by the Gelder Burn on the Balmoral estate.

Glossary Open

Order of the Thistle

The highest royal honour in Scotland, which has existed for many centuries, though at times it has fallen into disuse. Since the early 19th century there have generally been a maximum of sixteen knights of the order at any one time, though others may be created by passing special laws. The order has its own chapel at St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh.

Order of the Thistle


  • Acc. No. PGP 858
  • Medium Chromogenic print
  • Size 132.08 x 203.2 cm
  • Credit Bought with the aid of the Patrons of the National Galleries of Scotland 2013