Following a very successful day at the Lonach Gathering on Saturday 25th August, the Royal Celtic Society once again held open house at a similar facility at the Royal Braemar Gathering on Saturday 1st September, where we took our place in the marquee alongside Clans Farquharson, Anderson, Mackenzie, Hay, MacRae and Clan Chattan, together with the Aberdeen and North East Scotland Family History Society, the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and the Victoria League.
Although it is the most famous Highland Games in the world, situated close by Balmoral Castle, hugely popular and unique in that the Sovereign is Chieftain of the Games, the Braemar Gathering somehow manages to retain the feel of a local event, perhaps aided by the relative intimacy of the small arena in the Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park in the village.
There have been Highland Games and Gatherings on this site in Braemar since the days of Malcolm III in the 11th century, although the event has been running in its current form since the foundation of the Braemar Royal Highland Society in 1832. It took on its royal association when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert acquired the Balmoral estate. Successive kings and queens have attended in the capacity of Chieftain ever since and it acquired its Royal Charter from Queen Victoria in 1866.
A highlight of this year's event was the official opening of the new, state of the art, World Highland Games Centre in the park, opened by Her Majesty the Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Rothesay and the Princess Royal. Prince Charles has been a key contributor to this project, both financially and in terms of his hands on involvement with its development, and it has been named the Duke of Rothesay Highland Games Pavilion in his honour. Although it will not open to the public until the Spring of 2019, we are grateful to the organisers that Royal Celtic Society members were invited to join in the preview of this iconic new facility.
The Chairman is grateful to society members John Mackay, Hope Vere Anderson and Duncan Hay for their hard work throughout the day.