The Queen attended the opening of the Queensferry Crossing in Edinburgh, accompanied by her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, earlier today; the visit came just over an hour after the announcement that The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child.
On arrival at the South side of the crossing, The Queen and her ‘retired’ consort were met by The Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, Frank Ross and Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland.
Prince Philip announced his retirement this spring, but is already attending engagements with his wife; even at 96, it seems he can’t sit still! He will undertake a select few engagements over the course of the year, the palace has said.
The Royal Highland Fusiliers, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, provided a Guard of Honour for today’s ceremony, and it was the first official duty for Her Majesty’s new equerry, Major Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah, who was appointed to the Royal Household in July.
The Queen met children and officials and was given a floral posy by Elizabeth Martin, the granddaughter of the project’s director Michael Martin.
The opening of the new crossing comes exactly 53 years since the Sovereign officially opened the other road crossing over the Firth of Forth, The Forth Road Bridge.
The new bridge’s name, Queensferry, comes from Queen Margaret of Scotland who established a ferry over the Forth in the 11th century. Over 10,000 people were involved in building the new crossing, with many others benefiting from its supply chain.
After meeting with delegates and cutting a ribbon, The Queen and Duke crossed the bridge by car, where they were treated to a flypast by the RAF’s Red Arrows. Upon reaching the north side, Her Majesty delivered a speech before unveiling a plaque to mark the occasion.
Safely on the north side of the Crossing at the Cube Arena, The Queen gave a speech to celebrate the opening of the new bridge. pic.twitter.com/muTthUQmUp
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 4, 2017
The Queen said: “The three magnificent structures we see here span three centuries, are all feats of modern engineering and a tribute to the vision and remarkable skill of those who designed and built them.”
She added that the new crossing would serve as an “important link” between Fife and the Lothians, and cut a ribbon to mark the opening.
Embed from Getty Images
Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, remarked that in 100 years, people would “gaze at the towers and marvel at what you have created”. She added that the creation of the bridge was an ‘outstanding achievement’ as she thanked those involved in the project.
Jackie Kay, Scotland’s Makar (poet laureate), gave a reading of her specially commissioned poem that commemorates the new crossing. In part it read, “Three bridges; three centuries; one life. Be shielded, be sheltered, be brave, be kind!”
The bridge opened to traffic last week. It then closed at the weekend to allow over 50,000 members of the public to walk across it, as part of the Queensferry Experience.
Local schools and community groups will be permitted to walk over the bridge on Tuesday before it closes to pedestrians completely. The 1.7 mile bridge will then begin normal operation on Thursday, initially with a 40mph speed limit, due to “potentially distracted drivers.” The speed limit will then increase to 70mph in due course. The old bridge, which The Queen opened 53 years ago, will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists.
About 24 million vehicles are expected to use the crossing each year, which has a projected lifespan of 120 years, but many experts believe that it could last much longer.
The Queen is currently at residence in Balmoral Castle in Scotland, finishing her summer break.