Thousands flocked to Tynwald today to celebrate not only the island’s National Day, but the visit of HRH Princess Anne The Princess Royal.
After 2020’s event was scaled down for reasons unknown, this year saw the return of all the pomp and ceremony usually associated with the day.
The ceremony got underway with secondary school students carrying their school banners, proceeding to Tynwald Hill, led by the Onchan Silver Band and the Manx Flag. The Band of the Royal Air Force College, leading the Guard of Honour from The Queen’s Colour Squadron (63 Squadron RAF Regiment) marched in before entertaining the crowd with a medley of movie tunes.
After touching down at Peel, The Princess Royal arrived with Lieutenant Governor Sir Richard Gozney and had a chat with some of the assembled crowd before mounting the saluting dais for the flypast. The Princess Royal also inspected the Guard of Honour and the front rank of the Military Band before being led to the War Memorial where she placed a wreath ahead of a minute’s silence.
Following this, Her Royal Highness joined Tynwald members, dignitaries and guests for a service in St John’s Chapel. After the church service was over, things moved over Tynwald Hill for the reading of all the new laws that have been passed in the last 12 months and for Manx residents to enact their ancient right to present a petition of doleance to Tynwald. While the crowd were delighted to see The Princess Royal, it was also nice to see the round of applause reserved for Chief Minister Howard Quayle as he climbed down the hill for the final time as the island’s most senior politician.
The most significant of this year’s guests however was not an MP or former Chief Minister or even a former Lieutenant Governor, instead it was Alan Shea. The gay rights campaigner marked 30 years since he was a protestor demanding the decriminalisation of homosexuality on the island with being an honoured guest hearing his name blasted over the tannoy system as he took his seat alongside his husband at the foot of the Hill.
After the service was over, it was over to the fun of the fairground as stall holders, businesses and charities provided Manxies with everything from burgers, bonnag and bouncy castles to leaflets, laughter and lemon drizzle cake.
Gef will be posting about the petitioners and their campaigns tomorrow. But for now, enjoy the rest of your Tynwald Day and get out in the sunshine.