THE Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were welcomed with a flypast during a visit to the UK’s most northerly RAF base on their 67th wedding anniversary.
Two Typhoons and a Tornado jet flew over RAF Lossiemouth in Moray to mark the tour by the royal couple.
It was the Queen’s first visit to the base since 2003 and formally recognised the transfer of the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) facility from RAF Leuchars to Lossiemouth.
The facility is one of two in Britain that stands ready to scramble jets to intercept any unidentified aircraft in northern airspace. The other is at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.
The Queen and Prince Philip, who were married on November 20 1947, travelled overnight from London on the Royal Train to Elgin and were then driven to nearby Lossiemouth, where they met pilots and their families.
They were greeted by a parade inside an aircraft hangar, where the couple took a royal salute and inspected personnel from No 1 (Fighter) Squadron.
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The Queen, who was wearing a lavender wool dress and coat by Karl Ludwig, a matching hat by Angela Kelly and a diamond star brooch, unveiled a plaque at the QRA facility and was presented with a posy of flowers by eight-year-old Lennon Gallagher.
The Lossiemouth schoolboy said he knew it was their wedding anniversary but was not nervous to hand over the flowers, made up with colours from the RAF Lossiemouth tartan, to mark the visit.
“I got the day off school to give the Queen flowers. She said ‘thank you, they’re so beautiful’.”
His father, Corporal Brendan Gallagher, said: “We were told (about the visit) last month but we had to keep it quiet because Lennon didn’t know.
“We knew he’d be super excited and want to tell people in school if we told him too early, so we only told him the other day.
“It’s been great, we’re so proud of him.”
The QRA has already been operating from Lossiemouth for a few months.
Jets from the base have been used to intercept Russian military aircraft a number of times recently as they approached UK airspace.
Wing Commander Mike Sutton said: “QRA is one of the most critical roles that the UK military has.
“It is made up with Typhoon aircraft permanently on standby to launch at very short notice, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to assist aircraft in distress or for any incursions on UK airspace that we need to investigate.
“Today is an enormous day for RAF Lossiemouth and we’re delighted to be hosting Her Majesty. As you can see we have lots of families visiting today and there’s a real good feeling on the station.”
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