Leader: The eyes of the world were on Edinburgh

Queen Elizabeth II meets Nicola Sturgeon before inaugurating the new �294 million Scottish Borders Railway. Picture: PA

Queen Elizabeth II meets Nicola Sturgeon before inaugurating the new �294 million Scottish Borders Railway. Picture: PA

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Yesterday was a fantastic occasion for the Capital – whether you are a royalist or not.

Some will have been more excited about the visit of cycling’s aristocracy than that of the Queen. The unusually high number of cyclists gathering at various points around the city from early in the morning was a sign of just how big a deal the Tour of Britain has become for sporting enthusiasts. Hopefully, the success of yesterday’s event will help the Capital to land the big one in years to come – the grand depart of the Tour de France.

But it was the arrival of the Queen on the day on which she became the longest reigning monarch in British history that meant the eyes of the country – and much of the rest of the world – were on Edinburgh and the Lothians. This is a moment that will go down in the history books and all those that were there, young and old alike, will have a tale to tell to their grandchildren.

There is a great deal of respect and warmth for the Queen even among those many people who do not count themselves as supporters of the royal family as an institution. It is mainly down to her good grace and good sense that the monarchy enjoys today roughly the same levels of support that it did when she took to the throne more than 60 years ago.

The thrill for all those who shared in this historic occasion is clear from all the wonderful pictures of the day. What a moment it must have been for 89-year-old former railway man Walter Bell who was invited to join the Queen for part of her journey on the Waverley Line.

All those images will be a boost to the newly reopened railway line. Network Rail could not have afforded the millions of pounds it would have cost to get the equivalent exposure through buying advertisements. All in all we have a lot of reasons to be grateful the Queen chose Edinburgh as the place to celebrate her landmark day.