A stunning island off the coast of Scotland called Isle of Barra has hosted a number of royal visits over the years, but none have been as noteworthy as Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ 1985 visit. For the islanders and their royal visitors, who were there as part of their tour of Scotland, it was a momentous occasion.
It seemed appropriate that Princess Diana and Prince Charles themselves made an appearance this time since the Royal Yacht Britannia had previously made visits to Barra. They were greeted warmly by islanders eager to get a close-up look at two members of the British royal family as soon as they arrived on the island.
When Prince Charles and Princess Diana arrived in Castlebay, the community turned out in force to greet them and showered them with roses. After that, the couple paid a visit to Vatersay Primary School before going to a civic reception at Castlebay Hall that was hosted by Lord MacNeil of Barra. Later in the evening, a traditional Scottish dinner was served at the Lochboisdale Hotel.
The Royals also had the chance to discover more of Barra while they were there, admiring its secluded beaches spread across its distinctive landscape as staff from Britannia stood by. Before being treated to some traditional Ceilidh music later in their stay, the couple also went to Northbay for lunch on the first day of their trip.
Other members of British royalty had visited the Isle before Prince Charles and Princess Diana, including Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh in 1957 when they visited South Uist, Eriskay, and Benbecula, which included trips across many lovely Hebridean islands, including Barra itself.
It goes without saying that every member of the royal family has been warmly welcomed on each visit, not least by those on Barra, a small island with fewer than 1,000 residents. For these islanders, the royal family’s arrival was an occasion unlike any other, and they made sure to give their guests a sincere welcome. And what better way to express your gratitude than by giving them some roses and playing some old-fashioned Ceilidh music?
Many islanders will always remember the opportunity they had to host two beloved royals; it brought joy to the entire small community and is likely something they will never forget. Even 35 years after this unforgettable journey, it is still one of the most talked-about royal visits ever witnessed on these untamed Hebridean shores, demonstrating just how much an event can impact those who are fortunate enough to see it unfold before their very eyes.