by a contributor
THE Queen and Prince Philip visited Dingwall in 1963/64. I was seven or eight at the time and a pupil at Dingwall Primary School.
Back then the primary school was part of Dingwall Academy. We youngsters were excited and astonished to be informed the Royals were coming to visit!
They were down in London, or abroad, or walking Corgi dogs at Balmoral, as far as we ever knew. They were occasionally seen on black and white television and featured in magazine and newspaper articles accompanied by photographs. But now they were coming to Dingwall!
The clear memory I have of the visit was the straight-backed and smiling Prince Philip stopping in front a large gathering of pupils and pointing his finger at a youngster in the depths of the crowd.
We’d been told in no uncertain terms that we were to wave our wee Union Jacks enthusiastically, to cheer but most certainly not to point.
On spotting Prince Philip pointing at someone in the crowd I thought immediately, “Aye…he can point but we can’t!”
However, he stepped closer to the throng of children, pointed directly at one young lad holding up a small camera and commanded in a clipped, clear and official sounding voice accompanied by a broad smile: “You’ll need to remove the lens cap to allow you to get a photograph.”
The hugely embarrassed youngster hurriedly removed the plastic cap, raised his camera and to his joy the Prince had deliberately “loitered” for a few seconds to allow the boy to get organised and successfully get his picture.
I’m sure that photograph still remains somewhere, maybe treasured, maybe forgotten about.
But nearly 60 years on I still remember that Royal visit to the town like it was yesterday.
A tiny incident involving a child from many years ago but perhaps it gives an inkling of the man Prince Philip really was and how he touched the lives of so many.
And I’ll bet the young lad who had that camera never again forgot to take the lens cap off when he was taking a picture!