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A NEW rose garden was officially opened at the Castle of Mey at the weekend to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the death of the Queen Mother.

The unveiling of the rose garden plaque was carried out by Caithness Lord Lieutenant Anne Dunnett and Ashe Windham, the chairman of the Castle of Mey Trust on Saturday.

The event celebrated this year’s Diamond Jubilee and commemorated the 10th anniversary of the Queen Mother’s passing.

The flowers for the Diamond Jubilee Rose Garden were all chosen by Prince Charles, who is known as the Duke of Rothesay when in Scotland.

The garden was created within the walled garden, which was a favourite place of the Queen Mum and her corgis. She regularly frequented the Shell Garden on her visits to her Caithness home.

Commenting on the opening, Ashe Windham, said: "2012 has been an important year in the history of the royal family as well as the Castle of Mey and we are delighted that we have been able to commemorate such important milestones with such fitting tributes – our new rose garden and our exhibition.

"The Queen Mother bought the Castle of Mey in 1952 and the castle, as well as the gardens, had been neglected for some years. However, the Queen Mother’s dedication to the building as well as her passion for gardening ensured that life within and outwith the castle thrived.

"We are proud to have continued the work that was started here 60 years ago with as much pride, love and hard work as there has ever been."

From 1962, head gardener James Sinclair began work in restoring the gardens. Sandy Webster continued the work while in 2000, Grant Napier became head gardener and in 2011, Olga Ridley took over the role.

The new rose garden is the second tribute made by the trust, which has already launched an exclusive exhibition of photographs of the Queen Mum within Caithness and the Castle of Mey as well as displaying exclusive images and memorabilia from the 1952 coronation.

The exhibition, which was curated by Christine Shearer, is housed in Chauffeur’s Cottage in the castle grounds. It has already been a popular addition with the castle’s visitors.

The Queen Mum’s legacy lives on through the trust, the annual visits to the Castle by Prince Charles, and the North Highland Initiative, which he launched in August 2005 to promote and develop the economy and to support the rural communities of the North Highlands.

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