Friday, 20 November 2009

Happy Anniversary Ma'am

Today our Queen celebrates her 62nd year of marriage with hubbie Prince Philip. In honour of this Royal occasion, we are posting photographs of Her Majesty's first visit to Orkney on 12th August 1960.

The top picture is of the Queen visiting the council offices on School hill and she can be seen next on Broad Street on the way to St Magnus Cathedral.

This Royal visit was originally supposed to take place a year earlier on August 11th 1959 as can be seen from the printed programme of events (shown above, reference D1/223) which included a poem by Robert Rendall and a specially prepared map of the Royal itinerary(shown below). The Royal couple were due to arrive on the Royal Yacht Britannia from Canada but the Queen became ill and flew straight home instead. There was some grumpiness at the amount of time, money and effort, both public and private, that had been wasted by this short-notice cancellation.

The wedding of Elizabeth and Philip took place on the 20th November 1947 when post-war rationing was still in effect. The then Princess had to use clothing coupons to buy the material for her dress just like the book below which belonged to a family living in Clay Loan in 1947. (Orkney Archive reference D1/979/1)

CORRECTION: It has been pointed out to me by a reader that the top photograph can, of course, not date from 1960 as the Council Offices did not move to the old Kirkwall Grammar School site until the late 1970s. They were officially opened by the Queen on 12th of August 1978, her second visit to Orkney, during which she attended the 93rd County Show. I also said School Hill instead of School Place, sorry!


  1. The top photo would have been in the late 70's. In 1960 it wasn't the Council Offices, it was the School and it's in School Place.

  2. You are right. My apologies for a rushed post. She is wearing different clothes in the two photos, how could I not notice that? Yes, the first photograph must be the Queen opening the council offices in School Place. Thank you!


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