Skip to content

Around Calton Hill

Point B - Leopold Arch

  • by

Location: Waterloo Place

A triumphal arch erected to commemorate the visit to Edinburgh of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg in 1819. He had moved to Britain after Napoleon invaded the duchy of Saxe-Coburg. He was later invited to become the first King of the Belgians after that country broke away from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The arch sits on Waterloo Place which was built two years after the battle of Waterloo to provide a more attractive approach to the city and effectively extend Princes Street. It cut Old Calton Burial Ground into two sections with the displaced bodies reinterred in New Calton Cemetery.

A true European, Leopold fought against Napoleon as an officer in the Russian Army before moving to Britain to marry Princess Charlotte of Wales, the only legitimate child of the future George IV. He then turned down an offer to accept the throne of Greece after that country escaped from the Ottoman Empire.  As uncle to both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, he was in a pivotal position to broker their marriage.

Continue walking up Waterloo Place for 50 metres. The Old Calton Burial Ground is on your right.

Picture credit: Stuart Baillie Strong, Edinburgh4Europe