THE Queen gave regulars at one of Edinburgh’s best-known pubs a shock when she stopped by for lunch – washed down with half a bottle of white wine and a martini.
The Sheep Heid Inn – in Duddingston – is the oldest pub in Scotland, with the first drinks poured on site as long ago as 1360.
In its centuries-long history it has enjoyed a number of well-kent guests – but they were all eclipsed when the nation’s monarch stopped by for a casual drink and a bite to eat.
The Queen made the trip from Holyrood Palace – a short drive around Arthur’s Seat through Holyrood Park – on Friday night.
It is said that she and her companions ordered a martini, half a bottle of white wine – and two portions of lamb and a fillet of sea bass.
Meals at the pub cost around £16.50 each. Wine comes it at anywhere between £10 and £45 a bottle.
The only martinis on the pub’s menu are an espresso martini – a mixture of vodka, Tia Maria and espresso – and a “pornstar martini”, which is served with a shot of Moet champagne.
They are priced at £6.95 and £8.50 respectively.
The Queen spent last week at Holyrood Palace, and it is believed that she stopped in at the pub after a day at Musselburgh Races.
Pub staff were given only an hour’s notice that she would be stopping by to give them the ultimate test of their serving skill.
The Queen only rarely eats out – other than at private London clubs and hotels.
The exclusive Bellamy’s restaurant in Mayfair is understood to be the only restaurant she has eaten at in London, and only of a few occasions with her family.
The Queen joins a long list of other famous visitors at to the pub – including previous members of the royal family.
One version of how the pub got its distinctive name claims that in 1580 King James VI of Scotland presented the landlord with an ornate ram’s head snuff box.
It is believed that he and his mother – Mary Queen of Scots – often stopped at the pub to play skittles, and the box was presented as a sign of his gratitude.
The snuff box remained on site for 300 years, before being auctioned off to the Earl of Rosebery, but the same skittles alley is still open to the public today.
Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Burns and Bonnie Prince Charlie are numbered among the pub’s other famous visitors.
Prince Charlie visited the pub whilst his army was encamped at Duddingston for a month prior to the Battle of Prestonpans.
Last year US pop star Kelly Clarkson – most famous for her 2004 hit “Since U Been Gone” – stopped off for a beer and chunky chips.
She managed to dine in peace, as the majority of other drinkers failed to recognise her.
Local councillor said: “The Sheep Heid Inn is something the community are very proud of and a visit from the Queen is another string to add to its bow.
“I’m sure her majesty enjoyed an excellent meal.”