Highland games body gets ‘royal’ prefix after Queen’s approval

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The governing body for the Highland games has added the prefix “royal” to its title after the name change was approved by the Queen, organisers said.

The Scottish Highland Games Association is now to be known as the Royal Scottish Highland Games Association (RSHGA), in a move which “recognises a thousand years of tradition”, said chairman Iain Watt.

The Prince of Wales – or the Duke of Rothesay as he is known in Scotland – is patron of the organisation and recorded a video message supporting the games last month following cancellations of country-wide events for the second year due to the pandemic.

Ballater Highland Games
Charles attends the Ballater Highland Games in Monaltrie Park (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Charles said it was a “source of great sadness” to learn of the games being axed “as one who has had the joy of attending Highland games and gatherings since childhood”.

Mr Watt said: “While much of the origins are lost in the mists of time, it’s often said that the Scottish King Malcolm started things in the 11th century with competitions to find the swiftest runners, strongest throwers and best pipers.

“Highland games have enjoyed strong royal connections ever since, including annual visits to the Braemar Gathering.”

The RSHGA was established in 1947 and is made up of members of 60 events in Scotland, from small local games to large ones such as the Braemar Gathering, plus several affiliates abroad.

It has 400 athletes, in addition to hundreds of dancers, pipers and drummers, competing in more than 1,000 competitions, staged around Scotland in front of 300,000 spectators, many from abroad, annually, said organisers.

Notable events include the caber toss, hammer throw, and tug o’war.

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