Queen Elizabeth II and her visits to Pembrokeshire

On September 8th, 2022, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II passed away after over 70 years of service, conducted with quiet stoicism, unwavering dignity and enduring grace. With a lifetime dedicated to her people, through war, through pandemic, through turmoil alongside an ever-changing cast of world leaders all of whom benefited from her wisdom and leadership. A beacon of light during darker times, and the embodiment of the indomitable spirit of the British people, Queen Elizabeth
II leaves behind an era unparalleled, the likes of which we may never see again.

Like each corner of the Commonwealth, her presence was felt here in Pembrokeshire. Visiting throughout the years for celebration and for duty, but always with warmth, our county has always been proud to offer a royal welcome.


Visit in 1955 with the Duke of Edinburgh

On August 6th, 1955, spectators gathered at Neyland Marina and nature reserve in anticipation of the arrival of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Embarking on the first Royal Tour of Wales since her 1952 coronation, the couple arrived via the Royal Steam Train. Included in their trip to the county was a visit to Pembroke Castle to be shown the King Henry VII tower. After greeting the crowds and being presented with flowers, the party boarded the Royal Yacht Britannia that had been anchored off Neyland which was also carrying the young Prince Charles and Princess Anne, escorted by the frigate HMS Orwell.


Visit to the Gulf refinery in Milford Haven in 1968

In 1968 accompanied by Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Princess Anne the Queen returned to the county to open the Gulf Oil Refinery during the oil surge of the 60’s and 70’s. Due to the Suez crisis new ports for larger tankers had to be found in the U.K which meant eyes turned to Milford Haven. Refineries followed which was marked by the Queen’s visit in 1968.

Picture: Western Telegraph archives



1977, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations, parade through Haverfordwest

In 1977 the Queen embarked on a world tour in celebration of her Silver Jubilee year to mark 25 years on the throne. The anniversary date itself was celebrated on February 6th, 1977, before a long list of engagements around the Commonwealth was set upon. Included in the marathon tour was a visit to Haverfordwest on June 23rd, 1977. Millions celebrated throughout the Commonwealth with street parties and events, and Pembrokeshire was no different. Crowds packed onto the streets to catch a glimpse of the monarch as she embarked on a walkabout down Haverfordwest High St.

Picture: Western Telegraph archives



Visit to St David’s in 1995 to grant the town city status

In 1995 the Queen visited St. David’s in order to formally grant it city status. Originally a city since the 12th century, St. David’s lost its status in 1888 due to changes in borough organisation. Just over a hundred years on the town council began the process of reinstating this status to align with the 40th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation. It wasn’t until 1994 however that via the Queen’s request, city status was once again granted. Citing the important Christian heritage of the area as well as St. David’s prior status as a city, the Queen arrived the following year on June 1st, 1995 to formally grant the city its status.

Picture: Western Telegraph archives



Visit to Pembrokeshire in 2001

In 2001, the year prior to the Golden Jubilee, the Queen visited once again for a series of Royal engagements alongside the Duke of Edinburgh. Visiting Haverfordwest to open the new £10million headquarters of the County Council along the River Cleddau, the Queen and Prince Philip greeted the crowds after the ceremony. Earlier, the couple visited St. David’s for the first time since the granting of city status six years prior in order to open the restored Porth y Twr gatehouse and belltower. The Queen ended her visit by officially opening Pembroke Dock Community School where a class of eight-year-old students studying Elizabeth I greeted her wearing traditional Tudor dresses.

Picture: Western Telegraph



Visit to Pembrokeshire in 2014

2014 would be the Queen’s final visit to Pembrokeshire before her passing. Arriving at Haverfordwest Railway Station the Queen accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh went on to visit the Cotts Farm Equine Clinic in Robeston Wathen. A visit to Prince’s Gate Spring Water saw a large gathering of school children form all hoping to get a glimpse of the royals. Lunch and a tour of Picton Castle followed before the Queen and the Duke visited the Royal Dockyard and Dockyard Chapel in Pembroke Dock to open the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre to celebrate the towns bicentennial year.

Picture: Gareth Davies Photography Tenby



Throughout her life Queen Elizabeth II showed great interest in and friendship to Wales and to Pembrokeshire. Her passing signifies the end of a remarkable era, that left an indelible mark on Pembrokeshire and the wider world.