Three is the magic number

Edinburgh’s Lord Lieutenant, Frank Ross, on the opening of the Queensferry Crossing.

It was a day which signalled a hat-trick, in more ways than one. Three bridges built over three centuries, and each marked with a Royal opening.

I was honoured to join Her Majesty the Queen yesterday to formally open the new, three-towered and, absolutely stunning, Queensferry Crossing. In a traditional ceremony celebrating both the age-old and new connection enjoyed between Edinburgh and Fife, I chaperoned the Queen and Prince Philip from the South side of the Crossing as Edinburgh’s Lord Lieutenant.

We were met to the North by my counterpart the Lord Lieutenant of Fife, who duly completed the Royal journey across what is now the world’s longest cable-stayed bridge of its type. While we were there, news came in too that a third Royal baby is on the way, which only added to the theme of three being the magic number of the day! Canva jadu

Amazingly, the historic events marked 53 years to the day since the Queen opened the Forth Road Bridge in 1964, and 127 years since what was Europe’s longest suspension bridge - the Forth Bridge - was formally opened in March 1890 by the Prince of Wales who was later to become King Edward VIII. 

And so, on another historic Royal opening in South Queensferry, Queen Elizabeth II was greeted yet again by cheering crowds eager to see her cut the ribbon and mark the new Bridge as open.

Waving saltire flags, dozens of school children from both sides of the crossing had the chance to be part of the proceedings. From their unique vantage point, they watched in awe as the Royal Navy sent a flotilla below the Bridge and a military Guard of Honour lined up along it, while the Red Arrows streaked the sky in colour above.

Joined by the talented West Lothian Pipe band and local cadets, this certainly was a fitting way for the local community to feel closely connected to the opening of their new Crossing.

The demand for the new bridge in Edinburgh and Fife over the last few days has been described as unprecedented, but that does not seem apt to me. We are two communities which have been connected for centuries. Combined, our three feats of engineering have created jobs for our family and friends for three generations of workers, with 12,000 involved in the build of the Queensferry Crossing alone.

As the biggest infrastructure project in Scotland for a generation, this is something communities in Edinburgh and beyond have been engaged in throughout its build. No stranger to excellence in engineering, this is an opening we should all be proud of in Scotland. This pride is exactly what I and many, many others felt yesterday and over the weekend crossing the Forth.

Congratulations and thank you to every single one of those people who, together, spent 19 million working hours turning this design into a reality - and who ceremoniously opened it in style.

*This article first appeared in the Edinburgh Evening News on 5 September 2017*

 

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