Queen hails Scots at Palace of Holyroodhouse for public service achievements


The Queen has honoured Scots who have achieved great feats in public service at a reception at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. 

Around 140 people were invited to the reception in the palace's Great Gallery to mark their contribution to society in areas ranging from physics to sport.

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, spoke to guests including Gillian Inglis, caretaker at Victoria Barracks near Ballater, which took in 200 people who fled their homes when flooding hit the area in December.

Ms Inglis, who has worked at the barracks for five years, housed and fed the residents - as well as their pets - for two weeks.

She said: "The Queen was asking how Ballater was getting along now and I just told her that it was good.

"It is such a blur when you are faced with the Queen speaking to you."

Shobna Vasishta, medical research register initiative leader and charity fundraiser at Dundee University, said she was delighted to meet the Queen - 64 years after her father met her in Kenya.

Ms Vasishta said: "My father met her in 1952 in Nairobi when she was Princess Elizabeth - it was the day before her father died.

"I said that to her and the smile on her face was wonderful. My father suffers very badly from dementia, but when I phoned and told him today that I was meeting her, he said to make sure that I told her he was asking after her."

Other guests said the Queen, who was wearing an Angela Kelly gold and black sequinned dress with a white silk wool jacket, had asked them about environmental issues and expressed an interest in women working in high-profile positions.

Professor Lesley Sawers, deputy chairwoman of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, said: "I told her I was deputy chair at Sepa and she was very interested in that.

"She said she liked to see women doing very important jobs and told me we needed to keep up the good work."

David Duke of Street Soccer Scotland said the Queen asked him how he had begun the initiative, which works to help homeless people rebuild their lives through playing football.

He said: "I told her that it had all come from my own experience of being homeless a long time ago.

"She was really interested. I never thought she would be as chatty and down to earth as she was."

Other guests included Professor Jim Hough, associate director of the Institute for Gravitational Research at the University of Glasgow; disabled archery competitor and Invictus Games coach Richard Vallis; chef Tony Singh; and former MSP and chairwoman of the Institute of Directors in Scotland Susan Deacon.