‘He loves Caithness and the people love him’: How King Charles kept a promise to his granny to forge a strong connection with the far north

The Press & Journal – Stuart Findlay

If his track record in Caithness is anything to go by, we should be assured that our new king is good at keeping a promise.

More than two decades have passed since the death of the Queen Mother, the grandmother of King Charles III.

Before her passing in March 2002, she asked Charles to carry on the work she started with the Castle of Mey Trust.

And since then he has visited every year, forging a strong link with the far north.

‘Great admiration’ for north Highlands

During that time, King Charles has developed a “great admiration” for the area.

That’s according to Robert Lovie, who serves as director of outreach for the Prince’s Foundation and has been dubbed Charles’s right-hand man in the far north.

He said: “He promised his grandmother that he would continue to look after what she started up here.

“And he has kept that promise. He is very aware of what his grandmother created.

“When you look at what’s been achieved around farming, environment and educational opportunities, he has nurtured that legacy.”

The King is involved in three main charities in the north Highlands.

The Castle of Mey Trust – which was set up by the Queen Mother in 1996, the Prince’s Foundation and the North Highland Initiative (NHI).

The NHI is now best-known for the creation of the North Coast 500.

After being set up in 2005, it helped the then Duke of Rothesay bring together the farming, business and tourism communities to address the challenges facing rural parts of Caithness, Sutherland and Ross-shire.

What are the links between Caithness and the Royal Family?

The Queen Mother first saw what was then known as Barrogill Castle in 1952.

It was while she was mourning the death of her husband, King George VI.

She decided to save it after hearing it was to be abandoned.

After restoring it for use as a holiday home, she was a regular visitor to the region until her death.

Mr Lovie added: “There were annual visits when Charles was young. So the people of Caithness and the place has always been part of his life.

“As time went on, he became more and more involved and now he spends between 10 and 12 days there every year.

“It’s a lovely testimony that he continues to go there.”