BYSTANDERS basked in the sunshine as the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Paisley, Glasgow and Rutherglen on Thursday, June 25, 1953, on the occasion of a State visit to Scotland.

Cheering crowds, eight or nine deep, covered every inch of pavement on Buchanan Street, including the section outside the then offices of this newspaper (pictured), as the royal car drove past. It was a joyous moment, but the picture changed just a few minutes away, in George Square, where the Queen and the Duke were to have lunch at the City Chambers.

The city’s 2,400-strong police force was all on duty that day, but in the thronged square there were only 75 officers on foot, and six on horseback. As the Queen stepped from her car outside the chambers, the eager crowd surged forward, testing the police cordon time and again. At one point, a uniformed nurse and several plain-clothes CID officers linked arms with the police.

At length, the cordon broke up and two or three mounted officers tried to calm the people. A Royal Artillery Unit rushed from the opposite side of the square to assist. By now, the crowd was just a few feet from the guard of honour, and continued to press forward, unaware that some people at the front were now frightened for their own safety.

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Added to the problem was that some bystanders had sprinted from Buchanan Street to the corner of North Frederick Street, on George Square, where another part of the crowd had begun to move. Combined, the two elements could not be controlled by police.

Some people received minor injuries in the square that day. A police officer admitted he had had some bad moments in his anxiety for the children in the huge crowd.