The fact that thousands of Dundonians turned out to pay their personal tribute to Queen Elizabeth when her cortege passed through the city a couple of days ago should not have surprised me the way it did.
After all, I was first exposed to Dundee’s view of this lady when I was all of three and a half years old.
And it is clear that my home town’s enthusiasm for her has not dimmed in the succeeding decades.
Now, it may be what’s called ‘acquired memory’ but I’m certain I remember the street party we had in Grove Street – long since demolished I suppose – on June 2, 1953 when the residents of Number 2, which was our ‘close’, and the residents of all the neighbouring tenements got together for a giant celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation.
There were tables all along the street but in terms of food all I recall are mountains of white bread sandwiches.
However, what I do remember is the atmosphere.
It was a celebration, of that I’m sure, but a celebration of what I hadn’t a clue.
That we had a new Queen, completely passed me by but it was obvious that my elders and betters were happy to honour her.
Once all the food had been eaten I remember my wee brother and me waking and sleeping and waking again as our hired coach did what I imagine was a tour of all the hostelries within easy reach of Dundee, which, after all, was a notoriously thirsty city.
However, that’s as far as my memory of that great event goes.
But there is no doubt in my mind that it was an occasion that Dundonians back then believed that the accession of Queen Elizabeth to the throne of the United Kingdom was worth celebrating.
Now, more than 69 years later the children, grandchildren and, no doubt, great grandchildren, of those happy street-party goers in Grove Street believe that the same lady’s death was worthy of their tribute.
By the size and strength of their numbers on the Kingsway and all other roads into Dundee this week they showed that they recognised not only the service she had given to this country but also the genuine affection she had for Scotland and its people.
In the decades between that coronation street party in Grove Street, and in the course of a long career in the inky trade, I have covered many aspects of the Queen’s reign – several Royal tours and all manner of political, constitutional and domestic wrangles that have affected the monarch, her government and her family.
Furthermore, the more of these situations I’ve witnessed the more I’ve come to accept, just like all those standing in quiet tribute on the Kingsway, the essential goodness and wisdom of the lady we have lost.
And if I expressed my surprise at how decent and respectful was the attitude of my fellow citizens towards Her Majesty’s cortege, bearing her coffin from Balmoral toEdinburgh, then I apologise for doubting them.
I should have known that the joyful way Dundee had welcomed her coronation all those years ago was still how our city regarded her.
The events of the last few days have made me even prouder to be a Scot and a Dundonian.
As a nation and city we have done Queen Elizabeth proud, which is no more than she deserved.
Alan Cochrane is a columnist and pundit who was born in Dundee and began work as a journalist with DC Thomson before going on to a career spanning five decades and including senior positions in Fleet Street and Edinburgh.