IN crocodile formation they marched solemnly, ten men each carrying a sandwich board bearing an unambiguous message. They walked up Renfield Street, in Glasgow city centre, and along Sauchiehall Street and up to Charing Cross.

It must have been a striking sight, that March day in 1953.

At a time when most of the nation was looking forward to the Queen’s Coronation at Westminster Abbey on June 3 - indeed, there was much coverage in the newspapers that same day in March about the BBC’s coverage of her state visit to Scotland - more than a few Scots were unhappy.

Reported the Evening Times: “The sandwich board and the slogans were part of a new campaign launched by the Scottish Covenant Association as protest against the Queen’s title of Elizabeth II.

“The controversy over the title flared up during the night when bills asking for the identification of Elizabeth I were posted on walls in various parts of Glasgow. Glasgow Police were to-day conducting enquiries into the appearance of the posters which offered ‘£2000 reward for information leading to the identification of Elizabeth I of Scotland - dead or alive’.” Two men were questioned during the night in the city about the posters.

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Herald Diary

Posters were reported in Greenock, Airdrie, Stirling, Perth and Aberdeen, but not in Edinburgh, where there had been bomb attempts on an Elizabeth II pillar-box.

The sandwich-boards advertised a meeting the following day of the Covenant executive committee at Glasgow’s McLellan Galleries, at which they would discuss the recent Parliamentary debate on the Queen’s title.

The next day’s headlines, however, were dominated by the death of Stalin.