'Royal Visit To Ulster (1945)'
On 18th-19th July 1945, their Majesties the King and Queen, and Princess Elizabeth visited Northern Ireland as part of a United Kingdom-wide "Victory Tour". The short visit was a joyous occasion for the thousands in Ulster who lined the routes and attended garden parties and other events. It was a trip of firsts for the 18-year-old Princess Elizabeth.
The royal plane, a Douglas Dakota, taxis onto Long Kesh aerodrome near Belfast bringing the King and Queen, and Princess Elizabeth on a visit to Ulster - part of the royal "Victory Tour" undertaken since V.E. Day. This was Princess Elizabeth's first journey by plane. Highlights of the royal tour included a visit to the Ulster houses of parliament at Stormont, where members later gathered to hear the King's address.
Disabled soldiers and men of the British Legion paraded to greet their Majesties. The visit to parliament buildings gave Princess Elizabeth her first experience of any parliament, though technically she took no part in the proceedings. A garden party attended by 5,000 war workers at Belfast’s Botanic Gardens gave a sincere expression of Ulster’s loyalty.
Aboard the Patrol Yacht [?] the royal visitor’s sailed to Londonderry. During the trip, they passed some of the 62 surrendered German U-Boats anchored in the River Foyle. At Prince’s Quay, crowds welcomed the royal party. In 1924, the King and Queen, then Duke and Duchess of York, received the Freedom of Londonderry. American sailors lined the roads at Guildhall Square where the King reviewed a march past of servicemen of this war and the last.
Ulster acclaimed their Majesties in traditional style, and made this two-day tour an occasion to remember.