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DST - Platinum Jubilee: A book of dances

Queen's Platinum Jubilee book and CD

 

On 6th February 2022 the Patron of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, became the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years of service to the people of the United Kingdom, the Realms and the Commonwealth.

With a love of dance, and in particular Scottish country dancing, Queen Elizabeth has been Patron of the Society since 1947.

With that in mind, Membership Services proposed publishing a book of dances to celebrate Her Majesty’s remarkable and unprecedented anniversary through reprinting dances linked to the Queen and her life.

Queen's Platinum Jubilee book and CD

 

Choosing the dances was tricky – we all knew that we had to include The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, and Balmoral Strathspey would provide the link to Royal Deeside. Peter Knapman’s Dance Scottish At Home articles would be a good starting point for content. After some discussion the committee settled on The Royal Yacht Britannia to bring a modern dance into the mix, and chose The Eightsome Reel, a dance that we knew the Queen enjoyed dancing. The plan was to only print 4 dances, but when the first draft was complete, it was clear that the book would benefit from including a jig – and the content already included helped with the decision. The book would include Holyrood House, named after the official residence of Her Majesty in Scotland and where the Queen is currently residing, having arrived on Monday 27th June for ‘Holyrood Week’.

The aim was to create a glossy publication that drew on the beautiful photos held by the Society, as well as finding those images that would illustrate special moments in our Patron’s life, with the places and people connected to the dances. Elizabeth Harry helped by sharing the beautiful black and white shots from the Edinburgh Branch archive taken at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in 1952, and Alan MacPherson shared images from the Society archive of RSCDS Jubilees and visits.

Researching the stories was key – working through newspaper archive to find the dates of their Royal Highnesses visit to Edinburgh in 1949, finding photographs to illustrate that trip and piecing it together with the images from Miss Allie Anderson’s own scrapbook. While researching royal jubilees led to finding beautiful descriptions and images of Queen Victoria’s anniversaries, pictures that drew similarities with the planned events for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee. Ainslie Dunnett also looked into all things Royal Yacht – fascinating facts about life on board the Queen’s ‘home away from home’.

Queen's Platinum Jubilee book and CD

 

As we get ready for the RSCDS centenary, it was great to reflect on the Society’s Golden Jubilee and share the iconic image of the Queen leading her partner in Petronella.

Information from those who had played for Royal occasions brought that extra special touch – talking to Eileen Pike and Frank Thomson about their years of playing for the Ghillies’ Balls at Balmoral Castle was delightful and hopefully the description lives up to the memories shared.

With Board approval for a CD of Royal tracks, Luke Brady selected a long list from which the committee chose additional tracks and we hope you enjoy the mix from band recordings across the decades including the dances from the book. 

Many thanks to all those who gave of their time - researching, writing, proofreading – and to the staff at Coates Crescent for their support, and Luke for producing the musical arrangements.

The Platinum Jubilee is a moment in history that we are unlikely to see again, and it felt the right moment for us to mark the life of our Society Patron. Described by the committee as a ‘must-have commemorative issue’, I hope you enjoy reading our Platinum Jubilee celebration as much as I did writing and bringing the material together.

Angela Young

RSCDS Membership Services Convenor

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