Queen's Platinum Jubilee: The monarch's visits to Fife in the last seven decades

It was on February 6, 1952 that the reign of Queen Elizabeth II began following the death of her father, King George VI.

By Fiona Dobie
Sunday, 6th February 2022, 4:15 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd June 2022, 9:10 am

On February 6, 2022, she became the first British monarch to reign for 70 years.

The official celebrations for her Platinum Jubilee take place in June, at a time when it is hoped better weather will see celebrations take place across the country during a long weekend with an additional public holiday, on June 3, to mark the occasion.

It is hoped communities will come together to celebrate the historic milestone.

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The Queen talks to people in the crowd during her visit to the Lang Toun in 1998.

Over those last seven decades, Her Majesty has been greeted by cheering crowds as she’s toured the country performing her duties.

And it’s been no exception when she’s come to Fife, visiting many times while on the throne.

The weather may not always have been favourable, but Fifers have gathered to catch a glimpse of the royal visitor and cheer, with children waving flags and homemade posters, ensuring she received a very warm welcome.

Here we take a look back at some of her visits to the Kingdom.

The Queen sniffs some flowers given to her when she officially opened the new ethylene plant at Mossmorran in June 1986.

In June 1958, the Queen, accompanied by her late husband Prince Philip, visited several of Fife’s towns and villages.

Their trip was primarily so the couple could visit Rothes Colliery in Thornton – which at the time was seen as the future of the coal industry and something of a ‘super pit’.

Her Majesty broke the age old miner’s superstition of not allowing a woman to visit the pit.

The monarch, with her white boiler suit and hard hat, was greeted by employees as she descended the 1600 feet as part of a 45 minute visit to the coalface.

The Queen visits Rothes Colliery in Thornton in 1958.

After meeting the miners, the pair travelled the short distance to Kirkcaldy where celebrations were concentrated in the Town Square.

The royal couple enjoyed lunch in the Council Chambers in the Town House and went on to visit the new Kirkcaldy High School.

During their visit to the Kingdom that year they also visited Falkland Palace, Cupar, Newport and Dunfermline Abbey.

The couple returned to the Kingdom three years later in the summer of 1961 when they visited Westfield Opencast site to officially open the Westfield Works.

On September 4, 1964, Her Majesty officially opened the Forth Road Bridge – the longest suspension bridge in Europe at the time.

She met with Fife dignitaries on the northern side of the bridge. Twenty-five Royal Navy ships fired a salute of guns and there was also a fly-past.

Afterwards, the Queen returned across the Forth by ferry, marking the final trip in the 800-year-old service.

In 1982, the Queen was back for a short tour of the region visiting St Andrews, Anstruther, Methil and Glenrothes on that occasion.

The official opening of the Ethylene Plant at Mossmorran, saw Her Majesty return in June 1986.

She and Prince Philip travelled by train and were greeted by a crowd of several hundred at Aberdour Railway Station.

They travelled to Braefoot Bay where it was a right royal day for many employees – and their families – who turned out in force for the official inauguration, with the Queen and Prince Philip stopping to chat to many of them as they toured the site.

They were welcomed by the Dysart and Dundonald Pipe Band and a 300-strong flag-waving crowd on the roof of the blast-proof building.

It was 12 years before the Queen was back in Fife, when in June 1998 she visited the Scottish Police College at Tulliallan. Accompanied by the Duke, she launched the Police Information Network for Scotland before touring the college watching students in training.

Later that day she visited Letham Village Hall, before attending the Kingdom Shopping Centre and Rothes Halls in Glenrothes to mark the 50th anniversary of Glenrothes New Town, and having a tour of the design studio and factory at Forbo-Nairn Limited in Kirkcaldy.

In 2003, Dunfermline welcomed the Queen as she and the Duke visited Dunfermline Abbey, before opening the new play area and planting a tree at Pittencrieff Park.

In 2014, the royal couple drove to the Forth Road Bridge to mark its 50th anniversary. They crossed the bridge and visited Rosyth Dockyard where Her Majesty named HMS Queen Elizabeth and witnessed flypasts by the Red Arrows and the Royal Air Force.

In 2017 the bridges across the Forth were the focus again when the monarch officially opened the Queensferry Crossing on September 4. A ceremony to mark the opening took place at the Cube Arena, Rosyth, where the Queen addressed those in attendance.

During the last seven decades, the Queen has also made several trips to Leuchars.

Previously home to Royal Air Force personnel, Leuchars welcomed the Queen and Duke for one of their visits in June 1957 when they passed down the lines of Venom fighter planes as they inspected No. 151 Squadron.

Since the barracks transferred to host army personnel, the Queen – Colonel-in-Chief – has visited twice in more recent years.

In September 2015, she met groups of soldiers from The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys) and viewed displays, before meeting members of the regiment and their families.

During her visit she named Leuchars Station, Waterloo Lines.

She returned in July 2018 to present the regiment with a new Standard, when she once again met with serving members of the regiment and their families.