Bernard Weeks

Bernard Weeks was a Leading Seaman who served on HMS Gambia as a midshipman for her 1952 - 1954 Commission. While on HMS Gambia, Bernard was present in for the visit by the Queen and Prince Philip to Malta in April 1954.

Near the end of long Commonwealth Tour taken by the royal family between November 1953 and May 1954, the royal children were on HMS Gambia on Tuesday, April 27. HMY Britannia was brand new and left Portsmouth with Prince Charles who was 5, and Princess Anne who was 3, on Wednesday, April 14, 1954 on its maiden voyage. It arrived at Malta on Thursday, April 22. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were on their Commonwealth Tour and after leaving Malta, HMY Britannia picked them up at Tobruk on Saturday, May 1, 1954 to bring them to Malta. This was how Bernard took this photo of the children on HMS Gambia in little cruisers built by members of the crew:

Princess Anne in her own little cruiser

Princess Anne in her own little cruiser on HMS Gambia, April 27, 1954

From the Daily Mail, August 24, 2012

She may have been just three and at the helm of a toy boat, but the same wistful gaze to the horizon is plain to see. As this picture taken in 1953 [sic] shows, Princess Anne’s love of sailing began at a young age. The photo of the young princess was taken in Malta aboard HMS Gambia when the Queen and Prince Philip paid a visit with Anne and Prince Charles.

Bernard Weeks, 78 in 2012, then a leading seaman in the ship, kept a copy as a souvenir. He said: "We built two wooden boats and the children had a great time pedalling up and down on deck. We also dressed up as pirates and threw a birthday party for Charles."

Bernard may be mistaken about this last part. Prince Charles was born on November 14, 1948, and was not in Malta in 1953.