Kirk minister’s great-grandfather made shoes for the Queen as a child

·2-min read

A minister has described how her great-grandfather made a pair of shoes for the Queen when she was a child, that she still kept in her room at Balmoral Castle.

Church of Scotland minister Rev Shuna Dicks said the Queen was remembering Souter McGregor, a cobbler.

Mrs Dicks stayed with the royal family at Balmoral in August 2017 for two nights, and shared memories of her great-grandfather’s workshop on the estate with the late monarch and the King.

Mrs Dicks, from Cults Parish Church in Aberdeen, described the stay as one of the most memorable experiences of her life and an “immense privilege”.

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Balmoral Castle was where the Queen was happiest (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Mrs Dicks had been invited to preach at Crathie Kirk as part of the Queen’s seasonal stay at Balmoral and, as was tradition, the guest preacher stayed as a guest at the castle.

“The Queen had received a short biography of my life so far and in it she had learned that I had spent the first six years of my life at Lochnagar Distillery, where my dad had been a cooper and my great-grandfather had a cobbler’s workshop on the estate,” she said.

“In other words, he had mended and made shoes for Her Majesty.

“She remembered well Souter McGregor and was at pains to tell me that she still had a pair of his shoes upstairs in her room.”

Before leaving Balmoral, Mrs Dicks said the Queen apologised for not showing her the shoes made by her great-grandfather.

Mrs Dicks had a “long chat” with the Queen over a card game before they had a barbecue prepared entirely by the family.

She recalled her surprise at being driven across the estate by the Queen in a Range Rover.

She said she was made to feel “very welcome” by the Queen and other members of the family.

Mrs Dicks added: “I quickly realised that I was with a family being simply a family, and over the weekend I was included in various family chats about their lives as I shared meal times with them.

“Any attempt to help by me was met with a gentle ‘you are the guest’, and so it was that I sat down to a meal prepared by the royals.”

Mrs Dicks said the warmth of the welcome she received and the interest the family showed in her that weekend will stay with her forever.

“Her Majesty had a deep Christian faith and took her role as our Queen very seriously and her long reign is testament to that,” she added.

“Anyone who ever met her will testify that she was interested in people, she wanted to know you and would make you feel valued and important.

“She served us all and saw herself as our servant, not the other way around.”