They were famously close throughout her long life and even now his beloved grandmother remains a major influence. The Duke of Rothesay, as Prince Charles is known in Scotland, has paid a glowing tribute to the late Queen Mother at an event that owes its very existence to her.
Charles spent Saturday at the Mey Highland and Cultural Games held in the village which played such an important part in the life of the Queen Mother. The games themselves were set up to mark her 70th birthday and continue almost half a century later as a way of celebrating the talents and hospitality of those living in the northern Highlands of Scotland.
The Duke of Rothesay underlined the important role his grandmother played in the establishment and development of the Games, writing in the forward to the programme of this year’s event that “It was with the greatest of pride that I followed in the footsteps of my Grandmother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, as Chieftain in 2002, thus continuing the tradition she had started in the early 1970’s when these games began.”
Then it was down to the serious business of enjoying the games. The event features many of the sporting traditions of the Highlands including tug of war competitions and a chance for those brave and strong enough to hurl the famous cabers through the air. The Duke of Rothesay was involved in judging some of the contests and was on hand to present the prizes to the winners which included a team from Help for Heroes who triumphed in the tug of war.
The village of Mey is in Caithness, on the north coast of Scotland, and its Highland Games are just one of two in the whole country to enjoy royal patronage. The other is the famous meeting at Braemar which takes place towards the end of the summer. The Queen Mother bought the Castle of Mey, about a mile from the village, in 1952 just months after the death of her husband, King George VI. She turned it into one of her favourite homes.
In 1996, it became part of the Queen Elizabeth Castle of Mey Trust and it’s now open to visitors through the summer apart from the end of July every year when Charles and Camilla stay there.