SOME people understandably become tongue-tied when meeting the Queen, lapsing into awkward silence. One former royal equerry recently told how the monarch had spoken of the irritation she feels when she walks into a crowded room “and, as she put it, watch people peel away, like the water parting as the bow of a ship ploughed through it.”

There was no such reticence on the part of these workers (main picture, right) when the Queen inaugurated the £1,200 million Sullom Voe oil terminal on Shetland in May 1981. Workers and monarch alike clearly enjoyed the encounter.

The Glasgow Herald said of the Queen’s visit: “The oil workers, known as ‘bears’, gave the royal party a resounding welcome. ‘Are ye comin’ to the dance tonight, ma’am?’, ventured one.

“At one point, security men had to link arms to protect the Queen from the massing crowd. ‘I wish she’d come here more often. It’s a real change from the dull routine’, said pipefitter Charlie Burns from Manchester.”

Three years earlier, in July 1978, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh went walkabout in the Borders and when they visited Hawick High School (far right, top), Herald photographer Duncan Dingsdale took what turned out to be an award-winning picture of a schoolboy whose very expression seemed to say, ‘She talked to me!’

The royal couple braved summer wind and rain that day as they took in Hawick, Jedburgh, Selkirk and Galashiels, chatting with everyone from bystanders to craft workers.

In Jedburgh they called upon Mrs Christina Miller. “I did not do any redecoration for this scheduled visit by the Queen,” Mrs Miller later told reporters. “Just a wee bit extra dusting and polishing.”

One of her neighbours received a surprise visit from the Duke. “I was just standing at the door,” said Mrs Florence Stewart, “when the Duke came forward and asked how everything was, so I asked him in and showed him round the house.”

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Herald Diary

In June 1971 the Queen, accompanied by the Duke and Princess Anne, carried out some Scottish engagements. They are pictured here (far right, bottom) leaving Edinburgh on the royal train, bound for Dumbarton Central Station. At Dumbarton, the train overshot the red carpet by six feet, forcing porters and officials to shift potted plants out of the way so that the royals could get off the train.

The Queen and Anne were taken to Loch Lomond, where they enjoyed a brief cruise to Rowardennan and back on the Maid of the Loch (grey skies suddenly giving way to some of the warmest weather of the year, as though by royal appointment) and visited a clock factory at the Vale of Leven industrial estate.

There, the Queen was presented with an alarm clock - made and completed in the factory during her visit - while the Duke received a mantelpiece clock with a quartz-crystal movement, and the Princess was given a wrist watch.

At the Ross Priory intake works at Gartocharn the Queen launched the £12 million water supply scheme, pressing a button to begin sending water to Kirkintilloch.