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The Queen Elizabeth Castle Of Mey Trust Launch Their
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10 April 2002
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30 March 2002
The Queen Mother was born the Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon on 4th August 1900 the youngest daughter of the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. She spent most of her childhood at Glamis Castle in Angus. In 1923 at the age of 23 she married Prince Albert Duke of York, second son of King George V. When King Edward V111 abdicated the Duke of York became King George V1 and Elizabeth, Queen Consort.
On 12 June 1952 the Queen mother cam North and stayed with Commander C. G. and Lady Doris Vyner at Dunnet. This may have been her first visit to Caithness. In August 1952 the announcement was made that the Queen Elizabeth the Queen mother had purchased Barrogill Castle and she later renamed it to the Castle of Mey. The castle was one of the ancient seats of the Earls of Caithness. James the 14th Earl was the last of the family to occupy it.
On her 90th Birthday in August 1990 she was presented with the Freedom of Caithness in a ceremony at the Assembly Rooms, Wick. A small rose garden at the Riverside Wick is dedicated to the Queen Mother and she planted a tree in the garden just a few years ago.
The Queen Mother returned each year to the castle of Mey that she
had transformed the inside after its being used as a military billet
in World War Two. She would have seen the Orkney Islands from
the castle windows and on a clear day St Magnus Cathedral in
Kirkwall. The island of Hoy rising up to 1000 feet twenty
miles away. Dunnet Head on one side jutting out into the
Pentland Firth with Dunnet Sands not far off. These were the
sights she chose for her holidays for nearly 50 years.
On 26 August 1952 the Scotsman newspaper published a short
She knew the county well over all these years - from arrivals at Scrabster, fishing trips, picnics on the island of Stroma visits to enterprises like the new Caithness Glass factory, schools, flower shows, art exhibitions and countless others down the years.
When in Caithness she attended the small church at Canisbay where she took a keen interest and even last year was heard to comment on the improved pathway up to the church door. She regularly attended a small Highland Games and delighted in presenting prizes and meeting contestants, pipers and dancers.
Her love of the countryside showed in her many visits to sheepdog trials and other country pursuits. she maintained a prize winning herd of cattle at the nearby farm and her walled garden has for many years been opened to the public for a few days each year to raise money for charity.
Her wish was to leave her beloved castle to the people of
Caithness and a trust was set up some time ago. The queen
mother left an endowment of £3million to the charitable trust set up
to protect the castle. she set up the trust a few years ago to
take on the responsibility for the 16th century castle and the
surrounding estate. Her majesty wished to have the place
developed but more than that to give the area a much needed boost to
its tourism industry. Apparently no family member wished to
take over the castle and she wanted to ensure that it was secure for
the future having done so much to restore it.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother carried out many public and private engagements in the county and will be sadly missed.