Scottish Freemasons honoured by a Royal Visit

Scottish Freemasons were honoured by a Royal Visit yesterday, when the Duke of Kent attended the Grand Lodge of Scotland to unveil a life-size portrait of his uncle, King George VI, who was Scotland’s 91st Grand Master Mason.

The Duke was welcomed into Freemasons Hall, in George Street, by the current Grand Master Mason, Brother Dr Joseph J Morrow, who said, “This is a special occasion here in Grand Lodge for a number of reasons.

“First of all Your Royal Highness, I gather this is your first visit here and we’re very sorry about that because we should have invited you long before this.

“But also, we are proud that the old Duke of York was our Grand Master Mason for one year and it is only when he went to the throne that he had to give up that office.

“It was the pinnacle and the height of the link between Grand Lodge and the Royal Family so we are very pleased you are here to unveil this portrait.

“We are also pleased to have here the Master of Lodge Glammis number 99 where the Duke of York was affiliated into the Scottish Craft.

“It is a wonderful piece of social history that the Master at that time was Brother James Beattie, the local postman.

“We could not be more honoured by your presence, Sir.”

The Grand Master Mason then introduced several dignitaries including the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Councillor Robert Aldridge and Alan Beattie Herriot, who painted the portrait.

After the unveiling, the Duke, an Honorary Member of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, remarked, “It’s very splendid.”

Alan Beattie Heriot told the Duke he painted the portrait from an old photograph and added, “We couldn’t identify the tartan of his kilt, so it’s a mystery tartan.”

The Duke and invited guests then enjoyed sumptuous lunch featuring Scottish salmon and Cranachan, to finish off the celebrations.

The then Duke of York was affiliated into Scottish Freemasonry on the 2nd of June 1936.  The ceremony took place in the masonic hall in the heart of the village of Glamis.

On the 1st of December he was installed as Scotland’s Grand Master Mason in front of 2500 freemasons in Edinburgh’s Usher Halls. However, he gave up that role after being crowned King George VI just 10 days later.

James Beattie worked out of Glamis Post Office and his round included Glamis Castle. the childhood home of Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, whom the Duke of York married in 1923.

He was known by one and all as ‘Postie Beattie’ and had a daughter, Flo, who is not thought to have had any children of her own.

After an appeal in Monday’s Courier, a distant relative of his came forward and spoke to the Grand Lodge of Scotland. Lynda Low, from Forfar, confirmed that her father was Postie Beattie’s nephew.

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