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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 September, 2003, 17:21 GMT 18:21 UK
Blairs join royals at Braemar
The Queen at Braemar
The Queen enjoys the spectacle of the gathering
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh have been joined by Tony Blair at this year's Braemar Gathering in Aberdeenshire.

The prime minister and his wife Cherie were among the 20,000-strong crowd at the traditional Highland games.

The Queen, wearing a lemon and white checked outfit and matching hat, and Prince Phillip, dressed in a kilt, arrived at the games arena in a maroon Rolls-Royce.

Mr Blair smiled at the crowd as he joined his wife in the royal box.

The Queen was presented with heather posies by 12-year-old Erin MacAlpine, from Braemar.

Pipes and dancers

Afterwards, she admitted being slightly nervous before her big moment.

"The Queen thanked me for the flowers and asked me where I was from," she added.

The grand event, which features all the track and field competitions associated with traditional games, this year featured a special appearance by the pipes and drums of the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles.

The Blairs in the royal box
The Blairs joined the Queen and Prince Philip in the royal box
Pipers and dancers performed while teams from the forces competed in the inter-services unit tug of war championship and in the services medley relay race.

The Braemar Gathering, which is always held on the first Saturday of September, has a history stretching back to the days of King Malcolm Canmore, 900 years ago.

Legend has it that King Malcolm called the clans to the Braes of Mar to select by competition the hardiest warriors.

The gathering as it is known today has been organised by the Braemar Royal Highland Society for 186 years and, during much of that time, large crowds attended each year to pay tribute to their monarch.

Royals attend Highland event
07 Sep 02  |  Scotland
Queen Mother misses games
01 Sep 01  |  Scotland

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