On a bright sunny Autumn day in 1981, a young Princess Diana stepped off the royal train at Shotton station to a crowd of thousands all wanting to catch glimpse of the young princess.
The eyes of the world were on Deeside on 27th October 1981 as Prince Charles and his new wife of just three months, Diana Princess of Wales embarked on their first tour together with a 400 mile, three-day train journey across Wales.
Charles and Diana’s arrival in Shotton was witnessed by huge crowds along the route to Deeside Leisure Centre which was the scheduled stop off on the north Wales leg of the trip.
The royal visit came at a time when Deeside had one of the highest unemployment rates in the UK after Shotton suffered the countries greatest mass loss of jobs in living memory when 6000 steelworkers livelihoods disappeared in a single day.
A newspaper article at the time reported on the visit:
‘Prince and Diana shrug off Welsh bomb.’
‘SHOTTON, WALES — Prince Charles and Princess Diana, shrugging off a bomb threat, mingled with cheering crowds Tuesday at the start of a three-day visit to Wales, the couple’s first major official duty together since their honeymoon.
The tour went ahead despite discovery Monday of a firebomb on their scheduled route. The bomb, believed planted by Welsh nationalist extremists, was defused after a telephone tip.
Police tightened already heavy security, but Charles, who is the Prince of Wales, and Diana appeared relaxed and cheerful when they stepped off their special train at Shotton to begin their tour.’
The Chicago Tribune chose to focus on a small but noisy demonstration who threw a stink bomb and shouted “go home English Prince”
Now a radio production company working with BBC Radio Wales want to speak to anyone who met Princess Diana in Deeside on that day back in 1981, they want to record peoples’ recollections of meeting her and what it meant to them.
The program called “The Day I Met Diana, Princess of Wales” is being produced by ‘Made in Manchester’ an award-winning, independent radio production company who specialise in documentary type programmes.
They have been commissioned to create a special national radio programme to mark the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.
If you’d like to share your memories or know someone else who would, please contact Kurt Brookes – firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 834 5307 interviews will happen before end of July.
The visit was captured on film by ITN cameras, describing the arrival of the Royal couple ITN reporter Anthony Carthew comments:
“In an way an odd place to arrive, non of the grandeur, romance and legend of Wales here”
As the Royal couple step off their train onto the platform at Shotton, the commentator continues to describe a rather bleak view, saying;
“Beyond them (the royal couple) the flat outline of Shotton’s beleaguered steelworks, a reminder of the problems of modern Wales”.
A fairly grim picture painted by the ITN reporter.