Royal nonagenarians – a stroll through Portsmouth

The Queen Mother beside a Sherman tank after she opened the D-Day Museum in  1984
The Queen Mother beside a Sherman tank after she opened the D-Day Museum in 1984

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If you’re looking for an unusual way to mark the Queen becoming a nonagenarian (someone in their 90s) on April 21, why not try this novel walk devised by regular Remember When contributor Simon Hart.

He says: ‘All members of the House of Windsor who have become nonagenarians have done so within the Queen’s lifetime. At some point in their public service careers, they have contributed to the heritage of Portsmouth.

The King and Queen visiting Portsmouth during the Second World War

The King and Queen visiting Portsmouth during the Second World War

‘This walk celebrates their part in the history of Portsmouth and celebrates the Queen’s 90th birthday.

The walk begins on the first floor at the City Museum where there is a painting called Bluejacket, HMS Comus. It says the artist is unknown but the work is attributed to Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll (1848-1939), a daughter of Queen Victoria and the current Queen’s great great aunt. She was a talented artist and the first in the House of Windsor to reach 90.

Leaving the museum, you can stroll to Guildhall Square and head for the cenotaph next to the Guildhall. Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught (1850-1942) unveiled this memorial to Portsmouth’s First World War dead. He was a soldier son of Queen Victoria and the Queen’s great great uncle.

Make your way past the Guildhall where in 1959 the Duke of Edinburgh (1921- ) joined the Queen when they re-opened the Guildhall after it was bombed in the Second World War. This is commemorated behind the great door at the top of the steps.

The Queen visiting Gunwharf Quays during her Golden Jubilee tour in 2002

The Queen visiting Gunwharf Quays during her Golden Jubilee tour in 2002

Now take your preferred route to the D-Day Museum on Southsea seafront. The Queen Mother (1900-2002) opened this museum in 1984 which tells the story of Portsmouth’s involvement in the D-Day landings and reminds us of her morale-boosting visits to blitzed Portsmouth in the war.

Now head along the seafront towards Clarence Pier and gaze across the Solent to the Isle of Wight where on a clear day you might be able to see Osborne House.

Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone (1883-1981) was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and the current Queen’s great aunt. The princess spent most summers at Osborne House until Victoria died. She played on the beach at Osborne and bathed in the Solent.

Now make your way to the Historic Dockyard.

'Bluejacket, HMS Comus' which might have been painted by Princess Louise

'Bluejacket, HMS Comus' which might have been painted by Princess Louise

Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester (1901-2004) was the Queen’s aunt and launched ships including HMS Kenya and HMS Gloucester. She would become our oldest royal ever.

Make your way to Gunwharf Quays and head for the Spinnaker Tower, our final destination.

The Queen (1926-) unveiled the statue of the boy looking out to sea during her Golden Jubilee tour in 2002 and it is one example of several plaques in the city unveiled by her. It has been moved from its original position quite recently.

Princess Louise, the Duchess of Argyll in 1901 (Alexander Bassano/The Royal Collection)

Princess Louise, the Duchess of Argyll in 1901 (Alexander Bassano/The Royal Collection)

Princess Alice of Gloucester welcoming HMS Kenya back to Portsmouth in 1953.

Princess Alice of Gloucester welcoming HMS Kenya back to Portsmouth in 1953.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh reopen the Guildhall, Portsmouth, in 1959

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh reopen the Guildhall, Portsmouth, in 1959

Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (1850-1942)

Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (1850-1942)

The plaque marking the opening of the cenotaph, Guildhall Square, by the Duke of Connaught

The plaque marking the opening of the cenotaph, Guildhall Square, by the Duke of Connaught

The Portsmouth cenotaph shortly after its unveiling by the Duke of Connaught on October 19, 1921.

The Portsmouth cenotaph shortly after its unveiling by the Duke of Connaught on October 19, 1921.