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Celebrations of Royal Occasions and Royal Visits to Blairgowrie and Rattray

Celebrations of Royal Occasions and Royal Visits to Blairgowrie and Rattray

Photo courtesy of Our Heritage Archive / Maurice Fleming Collection

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1842 - First Royal visit to Blairgowrie


Celebrations of Royal Occasions and Royal Visits to Blairgowrie and Rattray

"The Royal Route"

John A.R. Macdonald writes in "The History of Blairgowrie':

Before the extension of the railway system by Aberdeen to Ballater, the road from Blairgowrie to Glenshee and Braemar was on two occasions taken by Her Majesty the Queen, Prince Consort, and suite, on their way to Balmoral.

This was in the years 1842 and 1857; but since then many other Royal personages have journeyed thereon, hence its term, 'The Royal Route".

Many Royal occasions and Royal visits are recorded in the history of Blairgowrie and Rattray, and another Royal occasion will be added when the town celebrates the 2022 Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

Queen Victoria and Albert married on 10 February 1840 and in 1842 they paid their first visit to Blairgowrie during a tour of Scotland.  Their next visit is recorded by John A.R. Macdonald:

Once again, on 29 August 1857, did Her Majesty Queen Victoria and suite honour Blairgowrie by passing through it en route to Balmoral.  The Royal train arrived at Blairgowrie Station at half past twelve.  A company of soldiers, partly of the 1st and partly of the 21st Royals, many of them decorated with medals, were in waiting at the terminus, and presented arms on Her Majesty's arrival.

On alighting from the carriage, Her Majesty was received by Captain Campbell and Lady of Achalader and a numerous party of principal farmers.  After receiving a beautiful bouquet from Captain Campbell's six-year-old son, Her Majesty retired to the waiting room, which was beautifully fitted up under the direction of Mrs Campbell.  After a stay of a little over five minutes, during which she partook of biscuits and fruit, the Queen entered her travelling carriage and drove off at an easy pace for her Highland Home.  The road from the station to New Rattray was lined with a crowd of spectators, who welcomed Her Majesty and Consort with enthusiastic cheers, which were gracefully acknowledged.  Along the route, more especially at Glenericht, floral arches and banners were very abundant.  The Royal party partook of lunch at Spittal of Glenshee, and reached Balmoral at six o'clock.

Following the death in 1901 of Queen Victoria, Blairgowrie rose to the occasion of the Coronation of Edward VII by hanging out the bunting.

This postcard shows King Edward VII at Blairgowrie Railway Station in September 1908.

The Perthshire Advertiser on Friday 18 September 1908 describes some of the town's preparation for the King's visit.


A joint meeting of the Town Councils of Blairgowrie and Rattray was held on Wednesday evening - Provost Smith presiding - when it was reported that all the landed gentry in the district had been waited upon, and had promised financial and other assistance in welcoming the King on Monday week on his way from Balmoral to Dunblane.  It was suggested that a floral arch should be erected at the top of Boat Brae, Rattray, and across the centre of Blairgowrie Bridge, and that a barricade should be erected on each side of the streets from Bridgend, via Commercial Street, to the railway station.

Lord Dunedin having stated His Majesty was averse to flags being hung across thoroughfares, it was agreed that decorations should be confined to buildings, etc. alongside the streets.  Lord Dunedin also stated he had motored over the Royal Route to and from Balmoral, and had advised the King not to return to Balmoral by motor from Blairgowrie on the evening of 28th inst., but to go by rail via Aberdeen.  This advice would in all likelihood be given effect to. Blairgowrie Railway Station will be strictly reserved by the railway authorities for the Town Councils, who, with His Majesty's permission propose to present the King with an address. Captain Black stated a guard of honour would be drawn from the Blairgowrie, Alyth and Coupar Angus companies of the 8th Royal Highlanders.  It was agreed unanimously to erect a stand across Welton Road at the carriage entrance to the station platform, and charge 2s 6d per seat to defray expenses.

Following the death of King Edward VII, George V became King on 6 May 1910, and Blairgowrie once again hung out the bunting to celebrate his coronation a year later.

In 1935 the town celebrated his Silver Jubilee by staging an elaborate pageant as shown in these photos from the Laing Collection.

Two years later these headlines were in the Perthshire Advertiser on Wednesday 19 May 1937 when it reported on how the town celebrated the Coronation of King George VI.

Blairgowrie most certainly did it in style when, on 2 June 1953, it celebrated the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.  A street parade and pageant representing local history covering 2000 years.  

A film of the event is held in the Moving Image Archive in the National Library of Scotland.

For full details of the film and the local history events it covers go to

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