The publication of this edition of the Advertiser coincides with the anniversary of a truly remarkable lady; few will need to be reminded that April 21, 2016 marks the 90th birthday of Her Majesty The Queen, writes Lord Lieutenant Sir Robert Clerk.
Many events will be held to celebrate Her Majesty’s birthday and here in Midlothian we are joining with others throughout the country in the time-honoured tradition of lighting beacons on hilltops as part of a chain signalling good news. In the evening of April 21, three or four beacons will be lit high on the Pentland Hills and weather permitting should be visible almost everywhere in Midlothian.
I well remember the beacons lit at the time of the Queen’s Coronation and since then Her Majesty has given exemplary service to this country and the Commonwealth. We have much to celebrate in her long life and leadership through a period of unprecedented change.
Together with the City of Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders, Midlothian was greatly honoured by the Queen’s visit last September to formally open the Borders Railway, breaking her annual holiday on the very day that she became our longest reigning monarch.
In the event it was quite a close call since foggy conditions at Balmoral almost led to the cancellation of Her Majesty’s flight to Edinburgh. However, the Queen’s delayed arrival at Newtongrange gave me an opportunity to talk to some of the many spectators and I was astonished to find some who had come from as far as London simply to have a chance to see the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Although all over in a flash it was a truly memorable day.
Most of us are quite content to have just one birthday each year but the Queen has two – her actual birthday on April 21 and her official birthday on a Saturday in June. This year her official birthday is on June 11 and on the following day The Mall in London will be the venue for the largest street party ever held in this country when 10,000 guests will gather for lunch. Similar lunches are being held throughout the country and I hope that several may take place in Midlothian celebrating Her Majesty’s patronage of charities and raising funds for them.