While Queen Victoria was a frequent visitor to the Isle of Wight and made Osborne House one of her official residences, Queen Elizabeth II has made fewer visits.

One of our Queen's lesser-known official visits to the Isle of Wight was in August 1968, when she visited during Cowes Week to inspect the new Seaspeed hovercraft terminal at Cowes and the British Hovercraft Corporation factory in East Cowes.

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The County Press of August 3, 1968, reported that the Duke of Edinburgh would be arriving on Monday, August 5, to join the 4,000-ton royal yacht Britannia — his floating home until Thursday, August 8 — and would be competing in his Flying Fifteen, Coweslip.

The report went on to say that the Queen would be paying a fleeting visit to Cowes on Thursday, August 8.

Isle of Wight County Press: Photo of the Isle of Wight County Press clipping of August 17, 1968, which shows the Queen's visit to the British Hovercraft Corporation factory at East Cowes. Photo of the Isle of Wight County Press clipping of August 17, 1968, which shows the Queen's visit to the British Hovercraft Corporation factory at East Cowes.

She would be crossing The Solent in a Seaspeed hovercraft and landing at the Cowes terminal in Medina Road.

Accompanying her would be the Prince of Wales, Prince Andrew, Princess Margarita of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Viscount Linley, Admiral of the Fleet Earl Mountbatten of Burma. K.G., Governor of the Isle of Wight, and Lord Ashburton, Lord Lieutenant.

It was planned that Her Majesty would tour the terminal and then cross the harbour by hovercraft to the British Hovercraft Corporation factory to inspect the Mountbatten class SRN4 hovercraft under construction. These hovercraft were later used on the cross-Channel routes from England to France.

A launch would then take the royal party to the royal yacht Britannia, which sailed for Pembroke later that evening — and the published timings suggested the entire visit would take under an hour.

READ MORE: Queen's visits to Isle of Wight celebrated in special book

In the County Press of August 17, 1968, there was a picture of the Queen during the visit to the hovercraft factory. The photograph was supplied by the Evening News, Portsmouth.

The caption read: "H.M. the Queen visiting the British Hovercraft factory at East Cowes on Thursday week. Her Majesty accompanied by Prince Andrew and Viscount Linley, was shown around by Mr. D. C. Collins, chairman of the British Hovercraft Corporation."

WATCH: Princess Margaret and the maiden launch of the SRN4

The Queen has made several unofficial visits to the Isle of Wight — often while staying on board the Royal Yacht Britannia in Cowes Week — an event to which Prince Philip was a regular visitor and often a competitor.

Britannia served the Queen between 1954 and December 1997.

Built in Scotland, the royal yacht was a regular sight at Cowes Week in early August and, usually, for the remainder of the month, was home to the Queen and her family for an annual cruise around the islands off the west coast of Scotland (known as the Western Isles Tour).

Britannia welcomed a lot of famous guests over the decades, including US presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

Charles and Diana, the Prince and Princess of Wales, took their honeymoon cruise on Britannia in 1981 too.

The royal yacht's final foreign mission was to convey the last Governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten, and the Prince of Wales back from Hong Kong after its handover to the People's Republic of China on July 1, 1997.

Today, Britannia is a visitor attraction moored in the historic Port of Leith in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is cared for by the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust, a registered charity.

Isle of Wight County Press: The Queen's Coronation Naval Review 1953 commemorative booklet.The Queen's Coronation Naval Review 1953 commemorative booklet.

The Queen has visited The Solent area on a number of occasions, including for the Queen's Coronation Naval Review at Spithead on June 15, 1953.

In his commemorative booklet about the Coronation Naval Review, Commander Thomas Woodrooffe, RN, reported history was made at this particular review because there were women — specially chosen Wrens — serving afloat as stewards for the first time.

Also, for the first time in history, a woman sat down to dinner as one of Her Majesty's senior officers.

This was Dame Mary Lloyd, who was director of the Women's Royal Naval Service at the time.

  • See inside yesterday's County Press (June 3) for your FREE eight-page jubilee supplement featuring stories and pictures from each of the Queen's five official visits to the Isle of Wight.

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