Each year, thousands of students and citizens gather on the cobbled streets of St Andrews to watch Scotland’s oldest historical pageant.
And at 2pm next Saturday, April 16, the annual Kate Kennedy Procession will once again leave the medieval gates of St Salvator’s College in North Street on its annual journey around the town centre.
The procession, one of the most colourful events in the St Andrews calendar, traces its origins to the adoration by students of the niece of Bishop Kennedy, the founder of St Salvator’s College, the oldest in the university.
This niece was Lady Katharine Kennedy, affectionately known as Kate, reputedly one of the fairest and most beautiful woman of her day.
The part of Kate is traditionally played by a first year male student, whose identity is a well-guarded secret until the procession begins.
Anticipation of the crowd builds outside St Salvator’s Quad as over 100 colourfully-draped characters from the history of St Andrews march out of the medieval gate – characters as diverse as Robert the Bruce, who was featured in the 100 greatest Britons Programme on the BBC, and John Cleese, Mary Queen of Scots and Rudyard Kipling—all culminating with the unveiling of Kate.
The event is one of the greatest examples of town and gown working together.
Running and organising the procession involves a large amount of work from a huge number of people.
Marshal of the Procession, Leopold Thun, who is in charge of organising the event, told the Citizen: “This year’s procession marks its 85th anniversary and it involves contributions from all parts of the town and the university.
‘‘However, above all it is an event for the town and its surroundings to enjoy.
‘‘I also hope that the procession will raise significant amounts of money for charity which, this year, will go to the refurbishment of the Martyrs Monument on the Scores, in collaboration with the St Andrews Partnership.”
A group of female volunteers will be doing charity collection and selling copies of the College Echoes.