Angela leading the life of royalty at Stirling Castle

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CARNOUSTIE actress Angela Branney (22) has been cast in a leading role in one of this summer’s most exciting events - the grand opening on June 4 and 5 of Stirling Castle’s stunning Renaissance royal palace following its £12 million refurbishment.

Playing Mary of Guise, the wife of James V and mother of Mary of Queen of Scots, Angela is one of a 60-strong cast of costumed performers who will bring to life the splendour of the 16th century Stewart royal court in a weekend of celebrations marking the palace’s opening.

‘Stirling Castle Presents – a Palace Fit for a Queen’ features a packed programme of family entertainments and fun activities featuring everything from drama and comedy to music and dance, fashion, food and swordfights.

Most important of all, the event offers the chance to be among the first to tour the magnificent apartments of the royal palace. They were built within the castle walls by James V, and probably only completed after his death in 1542.

Although the French-born Mary of Guise has received less recognition than her famous daughter, she was a truly remarkable Renaissance woman.

Portraying Mary should not be a challenge for Angela, who graduated with a diploma in acting from The Space, Dundee College. She has prior experience of portraying important historic characters, having acted as both Margaret Tudor and Queen Joan, wife of King James I, at Linlithgow Palace and as Mary Queen of Scots at Edinburgh Castle.

She is therefore accustomed to performing in front of large audiences at major visitor attractions.

As she prepares for her Stirling role, Angela says: “I’m really looking forward to playing Mary of Guise and to entertaining visitors at the weekend of celebrations marking the opening of the stunning Renaissance palace at Stirling Castle. It should be a fantastic occasion.

“My ‘entrance’ at the event is on horseback, leading the royal procession which arrives at the castle esplanade at 11.45 a.m. on the Saturday. In the party are Regent Arran, the little Mary Queen of Scots with her nursemaid, armed guards and an entourage of courtiers, ladies-in-waiting, musicians, jesters and jugglers.

“A cannon salute will greet our arrival at the castle drawbridge and after the keeper of the castle, Lord Erskine, welcomes us, we proceed inside to our royal residence.”

Entry to ‘Stirling Castle Presents – a Palace Fit for a Queen’ on June 4 and 5 is by pre-purchased ticket only, and places are limited to avoid overcrowding and ensure everyone has the best possible experience.

Historic Scotland is therefore urging people to book their tickets as early as possible to avoid disappointment. Costing £13 adults, £6.50 children, and £10 concessions, tickets can be purchased at www.stirlingcastle.gov.uk

The castle gates open at 10 a.m. and activities start at 11.45 a.m.