Minister's great-grandfather made shoes for The Queen
Published on 16 September 2022 3 minutes read
A minister has revealed that her great-grandfather made shoes for Her Majesty the Queen when she was a child.
Rev Shuna Dicks said the late Monarch remembered Alexander "Souter" McGregor well and at the time of speaking, informed her that she still had a pair upstairs in her room at Balmoral Castle.
The minister of Cults Parish Church in Aberdeen added that King Charles and Prince Andrew told her that they remembered visiting her great-grandfather's cobbler's workshop on the estate when they were young.
Mrs Dicks said the exchange with the Royal Family in August, 2017 during a two-night stay at Balmoral Castle was one of the most memorable experiences of her life and an "immense privilege".
"I had been invited to preach at Crathie Kirk as part of the Queen's season at Balmoral and the tradition was that the guest preacher stays as a guest at the castle," she explained.
"On arrival, I had a private audience with the Queen.
"She had received a short biography of my life so far and in it she had learned that I had spent the first six-years of my life at Lochnagar Distillery, where my dad had been a cooper and my great-grandfather had a cobbler's workshop on the estate.
"In other words, he had mended and made shoes for Her Majesty.
"She remembered Souter McGregor well and was at pains to tell me that she still had a pair of his shoes upstairs in her room.
"The now King Charles and Prince Andrew also remembered being taken to great-grandad's workshop to watch him work when they were children."
Souter is a Scots word for shoemaker. Mr McGregor, who lived in Rosebank Cottage on the Balmoral estate and once mended Prince Philip's shoes before he married the Queen, died in 1964 at the age of 75
Mrs Dicks said the Queen was very interested in the connection and how a young girl from Crathie had found her way into the ministry of the Church of Scotland.
"We had a long chat over a game of patience before getting ready to head out to one of the estate lodges for a BBQ," she recalled.
"My transport for the outing was a Range Rover and my driver was none other than Her Majesty herself.
"The Queen and other members of the Royal Family could not have done more to make me feel very welcome.
"I quickly realised that I was with a family being simply a family and over the weekend I was included in various family chats about their lives as I shared meal times with them."
Mrs Dicks said the most relaxed she saw the Royal Family was at the BBQ.
"There were no staff there to prepare the food or table, this was all taken care of by them," she recalled.
"Prince Andrew and Prince Edward saw to the BBQ whilst Her Majesty and Sarah, the Duchess of York and Princess Eugenie prepared the salad and set the table.
"Any attempt to help by me was met with a gentle ‘you are the guest' and so it was that I sat down to a meal prepared by the Royals."
Mrs Dicks said the warmth of welcome she received and the interest the Royal Family showed in her that weekend will stay with her forever.
"Her Majesty had a deep Christian faith and took her role as our Queen very seriously and her long reign is testament to that," she added.
"Anyone who ever met her will testify that she was interested in people, she wanted to know you and would make you feel valued and important.
"She served us all and saw herself as our servant, not the other way around."
Mrs Dicks said the Queen loved staying at Balmoral because it was as close as she ever came to being allowed to do ordinary things and relax.
"My last exchange with her was as she headed to bed on the Sunday after a very relaxed evening of dinner followed by family chatter in that same room where we first met," she added.
"She apologised that she had forgotten to bring down the shoes my great-grandfather had made for her to show me."