My haven, Alastair Bruce: The Governor of Edinburgh Castle and royal commentator, 61, in his rooms in the fortress
- Alastair Bruce, 61, shares significant items in his rooms at Edinburgh Castle
- Royal commentator treasures a replica of Downton that he found in New York
- Also values a prayer book that his brother gave him on his seventh birthday
Governor of Edinburgh Castle and royal commentator, Alastair Bruce, 61, (pictured) shared significant items in his rooms in the fortress
1. HELP FOR HEROES
Here’s my painting of the battle at Mount Tumbledown in the Falklands, where I was serving as an intelligence officer for the Scots Guards (that’s my cap on the sofa). I did drawings of the places where soldiers I had trained had fallen so I could show their families, and turned them into paintings after the war in 1982.
I found it cathartic. I’m a trustee of the Scottish National War Memorial in Edinburgh Castle where the names of those who died are kept, and I’m terribly proud to have served with them.
2. POMP STAR
I’m a major-general in the Army and was appointed Governor of Edinburgh Castle in 2019 – it’s a great honour and there’s a statue of my ancestor Robert the Bruce at the entrance. I pop on this uniform and the hat on the table with swan’s feathers for gun salutes and when the Queen arrives to stay at Holyrood Palace. My role is to be the personification of Scottish martial tradition.
3. THE ABBEY HABIT
Having known Julian Fellowes’s wife Emma since childhood, I’ve been brought in as an adviser on a lot of his projects, including Downton Abbey – this is a plastic replica of Downton that I found on a visit to New York.
A lot of actors find it hard to express love and gratitude without touching and hugging, but I had to tell them people weren’t physical back then – partly because of the risk of diseases in an era before antibiotics. Of course, that was perfect for filming the Downton film sequel during Covid.
4. OFFICER MATERIAL
Alastair treasures this prayer book (pictured) his brother gave him on his seventh birthday when he went to boarding school in Dorset
My mother’s father was a vice-admiral in the Navy and when he came to our house in uniform once I wanted to be him. I had had a postman’s uniform for dressing up in, and then we added lots of gold braid to a naval uniform so I could look like an admiral at the age of 11. I often used to dress up as a bishop as well – so my parents had a lot to worry about!
5. BEAR NECESSITY
My husband Stephen Knott and I got married last year after being together for two decades. Barnaby, the teddy bear, is the bearer of messages between the two of us when either of us is not present. Whenever I come home I always go and see what he’s holding. A note might say, ‘Gone to the shops’, but it’s not always practical – it might say something nice.
6. ARTICLE OF FAITH
I have a quiet, gentle Anglican faith that I’ve found very helpful. My brother, Peveril, gave me this prayer book on my seventh birthday when I went to boarding school in Dorset.
The Scottish Episcopal Church let me marry Stephen – it’s still not possible in the Anglican Church. I thanked the Bishop of Edinburgh for marrying same-sex people and he said, ‘We don’t. We marry people.’ I thought that was lovely.
As told to Andrew Preston. As royal commentator for Sky News, Alastair will cover this year’s Platinum Jubilee events. Visit Edinburgh Castle, edinburghcastle.scot