On the afternoon of 8 September 2022, Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, sadly passed away at Balmoral, her home in the Scottish Highlands. Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for 70 years, Her Majesty’s tenure can be defined by a sense of duty that has made her one of the world’s most respected heads of state.
Born Princess Elizabeth Windsor on 21 April 1926, she was the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York. During the Second World War, determined to do her bit, the 18-year-old princess joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service. She married Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey in 1947, then welcomed her first child, Prince Charles, in 1948, and Princess Anne, in 1950.
Her relatively quiet life as a wife and mother came to an abrupt end in 1952 when she learned of the death of her father, King George VI, while on a royal tour of Kenya. She was crowned at the tender age of 27 in 1953, though she became Queen the moment her father died the previous year.
Originally an almighty test of strength and stamina, and now a jovial summer gathering and a chance to celebrate all things Scottish, Highland games have been a traditional part of Scotland’s culture for hundreds of years, though their modern-day popularity is owed to the Victorians.
The roots of the games date as far back as the 11th century when King Malcolm III called a foot race to the summit of Craig Choinnich to find the fastest runner in the land to become his personal courier.
The games then evolved to include events that tested not only muscles and speed of the strongest clan members, but also creative dance and music skills to keep kings and queens and clan chiefs entertained.
Highland games as we know them have been celebrated around Scotland since the 1800s, when they were formally reintroduced as part of the revival of Tartan and Highland Culture encouraged by Sir Walter Scott and given a royal seal of approval by Queen Victoria.
Taking place in summer between May and September, every event has its own unique character and traditions. Here are four of the best events happening this summer for you to get a taste of this most Scottish of celebrations.
Illustrations by Shawn Martinbrough; Coloring by Christopher Sotomayor.
“Impossible,” said David Ward. The London Metropolitan Police constable looked up.
Some 50 feet above him, he saw that someone had carved a gaping hole through a skylight. Standing in the Frontier Forwarding warehouse in Feltham, West London, he could hear the howl of jets from neighboring Heathrow Airport as they roared overhead.
At Ward’s feet lay three open trunks, heavy-duty steel cases. They were empty. A few books lay strewn about. Those trunks had previously been full of books. Not just any books. The missing ones, 240 in all, included early versions of some of the most significant printed works of European history.
Explore the campaign for women’s suffrage in the UK
“In 1918 the Representation of the People Act granted some women the right to vote in parliamentary elections, and the Equal Franchise Act of 1928 gave men and women equal voting rights for the first time. Explore short articles and examine scrapbooks, political pamphlets, photographs and posters to discover how suffragists and suffragettes campaigned for this democratic right.”
“For the sociologist Eric Klinenberg, a vision of the good city begins in the local library. It’s a place where a huge amount of knowledge is available permanently, free of charge. It’s a computer centre; it’s a place where everyone goes, including the marginalised young and elderly. Security is light-touch – “you rarely see a police officer in the library”.
“It is adaptable in a crisis. During Hurricane Sandy, a branch library in Staten Island became the place where local people sheltered and where relief was coordinated. In north-west Bangladesh, libraries float on moored boats in flood-prone areas. All this passes almost unnoticed. Libraries are closing across the UK and the US at a scarily rapid rate (nearly 130 have closed in the past year, it was recently revealed). The public library is not, and inherently never can be, a market, and so, Klinenberg writes, “If it didn’t already exist, it’s hard to imagine our society’s leaders inventing it.”