It's the Queen's queenies on a Royal Gallowayday!

It's the Queen's queenies on a Royal Gallowayday!

Thursday, 15th July 2010, 10:56 am
Updated Thursday, 15th July 2010, 4:13 pm

HER Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Philip were greeted by cheering crowds when they arrived in Kirkcudbright on Wednesday afternoon.

They were in town to visit a range of businesses based there.

And, much to the Duke of Edinburgh's delight, among the highlights of the visit was a mountain of the West Coast seafood delicacy, the aptly named ‘queenie' scallops.

The weather gods were smiling on the Royal couple as their motorcade pulled into Harbour Square at 3.50pm.

Torrential rain had fallen just before the Queen arrived and the heavens opened again five minutes after she left.

But thankfully it remained dry, if overcast, during the Royal couple's tour of the Square and Harbour.

In front of a crowd of at least 3,000 people, the Queen emerged from her Bentley wearing a stunning turquoise shift dress and coat topped with a wide brimmed hat of the same shade, set off by a deep fushia rose.

Her first stop was Castle McLellan, then she visited West Coast Sea Products, Kirkcudbright 2000 and the Kirkcudbright Summer Festivities, as well as watching scallop dredgers being unloaded on the harbourside.

As dark clouds gathered overhead, Her Majesty spoke to the Kirkcudbright Princess, Jade McMillan and her attendants, then received flowers from a small group of mesmerised children before departing for the Royal helicopter parked nearby after spending around half and hour in the artist's town.

Three employees of Castle McLellan who had braved the rain for over an hour to catch a glimpse of the Queen were delighted with the view.

Isobel Wallace, Marie Brannock and Ann Devlin all remarked on how pretty Her Majesty was. But Marie Ann added: "She's a lot smaller than I expected."

At Castle McLellan, the Queen and Consort learned that the company had recently created two new products for Prince Charles' Duchy range - a Scottish heather honey sourced on the Balmoral Estates together with an organic chutney.

Quality control manager Tracey Scoot said the Royal tour had gone "extremely well".

During a visit to the harbour to see the boats unloading their catch Prince Philip, a sprightly 89-year-old, noticed a stray scallop shell on the ground. He deftly picked it up and put in his pocket, an unscheduled souvenir of his visit.

The Royal party then moved in to the West Coast Sea Products marquee where members of the King family, who own the business, talked them through the process of shelling the scallops, deftly demonstrated by among others, Pat Sheddon, an employee of the company for 25 years. After seeing the newly emerged, and appropriately named ‘queenies' prepared for export, the Queen then watched as Castle Douglas-based chef Carlo Bignami deftly prepared "Queen Scallops al Cointreau' a dish he had created especially for the occasion.

Afterwards, Carlo's wife Heather said: "It went perfectly. The Queen arrived just as Carlo was cooking and when Carlo added the cointreau, she just went ‘woo' and then turned and said: ‘Philip! Come over, you're missing the flambe!' He arrived and asked what we were using for the flambe. He tasted the dish at the end and said ‘Mmm yes'. We were just thrilled."

Loud cheers from the Moat Brae greeted the Royal couple every time they emerged into view. Moving on, she listened intently to members of the Kirkcudbright 2000, including Wigtown West councillor Robert Higgins, who spoke of their continuing work to bring quality art to the town, including the current ‘Glasgow Girls' exhibition.

Her final stop was to hear about the annual summer festivities, which draws the community together and attracts visitors and income to Kirkcudbright.

Before she left the Queen collected flowers from a group of children, including five-year-old Sophie Irvine-Watson from Stranraer. A thrilled Sophie said afterwards that she had given the Queen "sunny flowers" and added she would always remember her moment in the spotlight with the Monarch.