HRH The Duke of Edinburgh ended a remarkable 65 years of royal duties yesterday before retiring from public life.
Prince Philip, now aged 96, met with Royal Marines who took part in the 1664 Global Challenge 1,664-mile trek in aid of charity in a service at Buckingham Palace – his 22,219th – and final – solo engagement.
In amongst his thousands of trips were two visits to Kirkcaldy – once in 1958 and then again in 1976.
On June 30, 1958 Prince Philip accompanied the Queen to the Lang Toun. Their trip was primarily so the pair could visit Rothes Colliery in Thornton, after which they travelled the short distance to Kirkcaldy where celebrations were concentrated in the Town Square. The Royal couple enjoyed lunch in the Council Chambers before taking in a visit to the new Kirkcaldy High School.
Almost 20 years later in October 1976 Prince Philip returned, sadly he was on his own on this occasion, the Queen staying behind at Holyrood Palace where she was suffering from flu.
The Duke had been at Inverkeithing, then officially opened the new Lochgelly Centre, before arriving in Kirkcaldy where he visited the museum and was given a tour of the art gallery, before chatting with the public.
Fife Free Press readers attended both royal visits and shared some of their memories with us.
John Rawlinson: “Given a little flag and marched down with the rest of Fair Isle Primary to line Hayfield Road then marched back to school when the procession had passed.”
Dorothy Robertson: “That’s my Grandpa with him on the balcony of the townhouse. He was Provost Gourlay. In fact my sister presented a bouquet to the Queen as she arrived.”
Fiona Newton: “My mum and dad were both working in the Town House for the official lunch.”
George Nicholson: “I remember that also they visited Methil. I’m sure it was the cadets that was visited, I was working there at the time when they were due. Our job was stopped and everything hidden from view and tidied up. I was that close to them I could have stuck my tongue out and touched them, but I didn’t! I just said hello! I wonder if the Queen and Duke remember me? Well, the Duke had a good look at me and smiled and said have you been working today? I gave him a wee smile back and a wee wink.”
Andy Barker: “We walked along from Valley School to Hendry Road to wave our flags. I remember mine was a rampant lion. Her car stopped at Winifred St for a few minutes, supposed to have broken down. She then drove by later.”
Jean Campbell: “We all came from North School to Hayfield Road to wave our flags.”
Gerry Morrison: “Remember standing on the wall Fair Isle Primary School with my mum.”
Natalie Tullis: “My dad Walter Rymaruk worked in Anthony’s hotel and they were the staff that served the meal in the Town House.
Marisa Edwardson: “I was in the crowd at the Town Hall. Seemed to be the only child there!”
Anna Smith: “I’m in the crowd of kids on the left front of the (Art Gallery) pic! Recognise a few of my schoolmates too.”
Nikki Crawford: “I was a primary 3 pupil at Dunearn Primary School in 1976. We were all given Union Jack flags and walked to the Valley roundabout to wait for Queen Elizabeth and her husband to drive past. Just before they were to arrive we were told the queen was unwell. I was so disappointed to find out it was only a “prince” in the car!”
Sarah Chalmers: “We were gutted that the Queen didn’t show! It felt as if we waited ages and all we got was a wave from Prince Philip!
Susan Kilpatrick: “I was at the West Primary School in Kirkcaldy. We all went to the Town Square to see them and got told that the Queen was unwell.”
Tracy Pirie: “Pupils from Sinclairtown Primary lined St Clair Street. I vaguely remember being told the Queen was unable to attend.”
Rena Blakeley: “I remember he passed up Hendry Road and we were all waving flags.”
Colin Suttie: “I remember most of Dysart Primary School walking up Windmill Road up to where the mini roundabout is, waving flags as the cars went by. Never saw a thing as they went past so quickly!”
The Duke of Edinburgh will now settle down to enjoy his retirement, whilst the Queen carries on with her own hectic public schedule.