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Saturday, September 4, 1999 Published at 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK


UK: Scotland

Queen Mother misses Highland Games

Tony Blair makes history by being the first PM to visit the gathering

A bout of flu has forced the Queen Mother to miss the annual Braemar Gathering for the first time in more than 20 years.


BBC Scotland's Colin Wight reports from the Braemar Gathering.
The event is the traditional grand finale of the Highland Games circuit, but for many people the greatest attraction is the arrival of the Royal party from nearby Balmoral.

True to tradition the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh watched games from the Royal Pavilion on Saturday.

But for the first time since the 1970s there was no Queen Mother.

Officials said she had been advised by her doctors to be cautious after a recent dose of flu.

But history was made with the presence of the Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie.

It is understood to be the first time in the games' 180 year history that a serving premier has been included in the official Royal Party.

Competition among the athletes taking part in the traditional games is always extremely intense.





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