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Important roles for region’s residents

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By Fiona Reid
Front
Important roles for region’s residents

MANY people from Dumfries and Galloway have been involved in the official ceremonies for the late Queen and the new King this week.

Lord Jim Wallace, who was born and brought up in Annan and still visits regularly, was at Monday’s memorial service in St Giles Cathedral, in Edinburgh, alongside the Royal Family, and then travelled to London to be present at the service and ceremony on the arrival of The Queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall.

As a member of the Privy Council, Lord Wallace was also in attendance at the Accession Council last Saturday where King Charles III was formally proclaimed King.

He met the Queen on several occasions, the last being three weeks ago at Balmoral when he was asked to preach a sermon in Crathie Church as a former Moderator of the Church of Scotland.

Lord Wallace said: “The Queen graciously invited me to spend two nights at Balmoral Castle. It was a privilege to have had such quality time talking to her. Her mind was sharp. She had a keen interest in what was going on. I experienced the warmth of her personality, which so many people have talked about. She so readily put me at my ease.

“It was also a privilege to engage with close members of her family over those two days, who also did so much to make me feel welcome.”

Also at many of the Scottish events was Dumfries and Galloway MP Alister Jack in his capacity as Secretary of State for Scotland. He was called upon to sign the official Accession documents and had a front row seat at the cathedral next to Prime Minister Liz Truss.

Mr Jack was then seen alongside Nicola Sturgeon at Edinburgh Airport as the Queen’s coffin was flown to London on Tuesday.

FAREWELL . . . the Duke of Buccleuch at Edinburgh Airport on Tuesday. Screenshot from BBC News

The Duke of Buccleuch, who owns Drumlanrig Castle as well as land locally, walked behind Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex in the Edinburgh procession on Monday and was pictured assisting the King on the steps outside St Giles Cathedral. He too was at the airport for the official farewell.

The duke was made a Knight of the Thistle by Queen Elizabeth II in 2017. It is a rare title and the greatest order of chivalry.

Meanwhile, nine members of the Royal Company of Archers were also from Dumfries and Galloway.

Sebastian Willis-Fleming from Thornhill walked the coffin from Holyrood to St Giles Cathedral; taking part in the cathedral vigils were Ran Morgan from Hoddom, Dave McCulloch from Lockerbie and Lord Annandale, David Johnstone of Raehills; Jamie Blackett, of Arbigland, was in Sunday’s proclamation parade; and there were roles for Nick Charteris, Rory Peters, Simon Irving and John Duncan too.

HERALDRY . . . Philiip Tibbetts, right, in Edinburgh. UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022

Meanwhile, Lockerbie man Philip Tibbetts was front and centre in Edinburgh as an Officer in Arms for the court of the Lord Lyon.

He was in the proclamation party and parades on Sunday and was on the steps of the cathedral to receive the coffin on Monday.

Philip is now in London, where he received the Queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall and has taken part in the vigil. He will also have a prominent spot at the head of Monday’s funeral procession.

He said: “I took the officer role a year ago knowing we would have duties of this sort. There were preparations and plans in place but obviously this did happen far more suddenly than expected.”

Describing the experience so far, he said: “It was amazing, I have never seen that many people lined up waiting. When the Proclamation was read out there were three cheers for the King and that felt like a wall of sound. It took my breath away. Marching up to the castle, the crowd started spontaneously applauding for the parade and that put the hairs up on the back of my neck.”

Explaining more about the Lord Lyon, he said: “We are a symbol, a conduit for people to pay their respects. I am here to perform a duty and it’s important for me to get it right and play my part to uphold the traditions of our nation and give the Queen the best and most respectful send off as she deserves.

“I have the sense I am part of history. We have not had an event like this for 70 years and in Scotland we’ve had proclamations but not a lying in state. It’s an incredible moment.”

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