• The Low Down

Five minutes of glory for royal watchers

Do you remember when the Queen of England came to Wakefield on Oct. 16, 1977?

The reporters here don’t, but Low Down co-founder Kitty Mantell sure does.


The following is just one of a number of pieces she wrote for that edition full of unique details about the thousands of residents who packed the Wakefield train turntable waiting to catch a glimpse of royalty.


Queen Elizabeth II died Sept. 8 at the age of 96.


The following is Mantell’s story from the Oct. 20, 1977 edition of the Low Down.


By Kitty Mantell


Five minutes of glory isn’t much, but Wakefield basked in it Oct. 16, 1977; the day Queen Elizabeth II came to visit.


Bunting and flags hung from every building on River Road, as the steam train carrying the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh chugged into the village. Close to 2,000 people were on hand to greet them.


Crowds were scanty in number along River Road as the train slowed to two miles per hour and the Queen appeared on the rear platform to wave. But it was standing room only at the National Capital Commission turntable, where the train stopped and the Queen descended.


Mayor Cleo Fournier was on hand to greet the royal couple, as the Queen walked the length of the platform to thank the engineer and then turned to meet local dignitaries. She was introduced to MP Thom Lefebvre, and MNA Michel Gratton, as well as La Pêche councillors and their wives.


She took a few moments to inspect the Legion colour guard and signed the Golden Book commemorating the 125th birthday of the village of Masham.


The Duke took the opportunity to inquire of Hull’s Legion Branch Commander, leading the guard about which companies were represented, and observed that there were many Navy men among them.


As the royal couple stepped into the car, they offered a spontaneous ‘three cheers’ by the wet and cold crowd, some of whom had waited in the rain for two hours to see them.


What were your memories of the Queen’s 1977 visit to Wakefield.


Email your memories from the Queen’s 1977 royal visit to general@lowdownonline.com.