IT was standing room only as the bells of Peebles Old Parish Church clock rang out 10am for the start of the Beltane Queen’s coronation ceremony.

Moments earlier, the Beltane Court – made up of children from the town’s three primary schools – assembled on the church steps in a mixture of sun and shade, as clouds crossed the sky.

As it was for Beltane Queen Margaret Muir, in 1899, this year Kingsland pupil Minnie Mitchell took the title Beltane Queen when, at exactly 10.15am, Crowning Lady Nancy Fenton placed the red crown on her head.

The crowd stretched more than 20 deep up the High Street.

Peebles residents and visitors from around the globe strained for a view of the proceedings.

The Beltane Queen’s Proclamation was read to the crowd and said: “Whereas on this 124th anniversary of the restoration of our ancient festival, we extend our royal greetings to all our faithful subjects and command them to receive our royal will and pleasure.”

At about 10.25am, Telegram Girl Nancy Thomson delivered a sheaf of best wishes from round the world.

The first telegram to the Queen, from Ex-Cornet Ian Thomson in Qatar, read: “Greetings from the desert, to Queen, Court, Cornet and the town of Peebles.

“Have a wonderful day and may the sun shine on you all today.”

The second telegram read: “Wishing Beltane Queen Minnie and her Court and all the children from Kingsland, Halyrude and Priorsford schools taking part in the Beltane procession and ceremony a wonderful Beltane Saturday, full of sunshine and smiles and fun.”

Congratulations also came from the Denholm family in ‘sunny’ Brisbane, Australia.

They said: “Congratulations to the Crowning Lady Nancy Fenton, Queen, Court and Beltane Committee. Have a wonderful day.”

The Queen and her immediate entourage left the church steps and alighted into the horse drawn carriage, to travel across Tweed Bridge and fall into position for the start of the Grand Procession.