Edinburgh Castle is a tourist attraction owned by Ministers of the Scottish Government and operated by Historic Scotland. It is also the Headquarters of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. No-one actually lives in the castle today, but it has had many residents over the years.
In around 900 BC the first settlers arrived on Castle Rock. For centuries the site was used as a military base and royal residence. The oldest parts of the castle that remain today were built in the 12th century. It was known as ‘Castle of Maidens’ until around the 16th century, believed by some historians to be named after the ‘Nine Maidens’ of Arthurian legend.
One of the earliest recorded residents of the castle was St Margaret, who died there in 1093, just days after receiving news of her husband Malcolm III’s death in battle. Her son David I had St Margaret’s Chapel built in 1140. It is not only the oldest surviving part of the castle, but the oldest building in Edinburgh.
Queen Mary of Guise died in the castle in 1560 and her daughter, Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to her son James there in 1566. He became king of Scotland soon after his first birthday. He united the Scottish and English crowns in 1603, making him James VI of Scotland and James I of England and Ireland.
Charles I was the last monarch to stay at the castle. He slept there the night before his Scottish coronation in 1633.
From the 17th century onwards the castle was used as a military base. Parts are still run by the army, but it is now predominantly a tourist attraction.