<![CDATA[ Her Brittanic Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II is 80 years of age today.
Thrice hip, hip, hurray.
As per protocol, the official celebration will not take place until the middle of June. Rumour has it, not denied by palace sources, that the Queen has chartered the Hebridean Princess for a cruise round these islands. She might even call into Stornoway on the way.
The Western Isles are a favourite haunt of the royals. The Prince of Wales is said to have had a spot of bother in one of the local bars at the tender age of 14 when he asked for and was served a cherry brandy. The press cuttings from that time still adorn the walls of the relevant hostelry. Prince Charles is also known to frequent the island of Berneray, just north of North Uist. By all accounts, his late wife, Diana, Princess of Wales, did not share his fondness of matters Scottish.
The Royal Yacht Brittannia was taken out of service a number of years ago, and is presently moored at Leith Docks, Edinburgh. The Hebridean Princess, a regular visitor to Stornoway on its summer cruises, is said to be a cosey replacement. Local stories again tell of the Royal Yacht going up Loch Brollum (Eishken) and anchoring there, for the royal party to go ashore for a picnic. As she was there, a crewman who hailed from Lewis would be transferred to Stornoway at Her Majesty's expense for a spot of home leave.
I don't have a picture of it, but out in Laxdale there is a well, set into a wall along the main road, which was inaugurated by King Edward VI in 1902. Although the structure was ready by June of that year, the monarch was not able to come to Laxdale until September. ]]>