HELENSBURGH’S magnificent maritime museum, the Submarine Centre on West King Street, welcomed royalty last week as HRH the Princess Royal checked in to officially open the centre’s latest exhibition.

Princess Anne drew in huge crowds at Faslane earlier on Friday as she attended the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Continuous At Sea Deterrent programme, and there was no shortage of interested spectators at the Submarine Centre later in the day when the royal convoy turned up for a special tour.

The volunteer-run attraction was opened in 2018 and has earned praise - and plenty of awards - for its immersive and interactive displays.

READ MORE: Princess Royal leads 50th anniversary celebration of nuclear deterrent at Faslane

The most recent exhibition, a presentation of the x51 Stickleback Royal Navy submarine, was highly commended in the Innovation of the Year category at the 2019 Museum and Heritage Awards in May.

Brian Keating, project founder and trustee, said: “We were delighted to host HRH Princess Anne’s visit to the Submarine Centre to officially open the first exhibition, ‘x51 Stickleback’.

“We invited all the local trades and volunteers who worked so hard over the past few years to bring this wonderful asset to fruition.

READ MORE: Helensburgh's submarine centre 'highly commended' at museum awards

“We showed her the exhibition and she seemed both surprised and delighted with the ambition and quality of the centre, commenting that this type of immersive museum wouldn’t go amiss in a major city.

“She also congratulated us on the centre’s recent awards and acknowledgement at The Museum and Heritage awards in London.”

Members of the Police Scotland Young Volunteers group in Helensburgh provided a guard of honour as the royal visitor arrived at the centre.

The Princess met with volunteers who helped build the facility, the volunteer group who operate the facility, and the local professionals who built and installed the audio visual technologies that make it so special, speaking to people individually and congratulating them on their work.

READ MORE: In Pictures: First look inside Helensburgh's new submarine centre

At the end of the visit, a commemorative plaque was unveiled and Jean Holland, Argyll and Bute Volunteer of the Year, presented the Princess Royal with a project book which explained how the project had been delivered and who had supported it.

The Princess also signed a new visitors book on her way out of the centre.

(Photos: Ross Gardner and Brian Averell)