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In pictures: Remembering the times Queen Elizabeth II visited Derbyshire

today8 September 2022 4

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Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who has passed away aged 96, visited Derby and Derbyshire on numerous occasions – usually accompanied by her late husband, Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh.

Even before she became Queen, the young Princess Elizabeth, with her husband of less than two years, came to Derby to officially open the Council House in 1949. It was the 23-year-old Princess’s first official visit to Derbyshire. The young princess, whose son, Charles, was just six months old, was given a small key to open the Council House’s main doors.

On the same day, the royal couple, who had only been married for a little over 18 months, also toured Royal Crown Derby, unveiled the new Battle of Britain Memorial Window in the Marble Hall at Rolls-Royce’s Nightingale Road headquarters, visited Darley Park and the site of the new War Memorial Village at Allenton, where the Princess laid the foundation stone.

She returned again to Derby in 1957, this time as Queen Elizabeth II, arriving at Sudbury station at 10am on March 28. More than 22,000 Derby schoolchildren were given a half-day holiday to greet her. Again accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, she visited various places in Burton-on-Trent and Tutbury before arriving for lunch at Repton School.

On the same day, the Queen also inspected a guard of honour in Derby Market Place and paid a visit to The Leylands, woollen drapers cottage homes, at Broadway.

In 1968, she again visited Derbyshire and went to the Lea Green Sports Centre and John Smedley Knitwear Ltd at Lea Mills.

It was to be another nine years before she visited Derby itself again but she came bearing the Letters Patent, which conferred city status on the town during her Silver Jubilee year in 1977.

Crowds occupied every vantage point at the rail station – on the platform bridge, booking hall entrance, leaning out of windows and standing on rooftops. The Royal Train arrived on time at 10am on July 28, to be greeted by then Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire, Sir Ian Walker-Okeover.

He led the Queen through outside of the station, to more applause and cheering, where she climbed into a waiting limousine.

The couple were then led by a regimental band of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters, now the Mercian Regiment, as they drove along a processional route to the Council House, where the then Mayor of Derby, Councillor Jeffery Tillett was waiting.

Mr Tillett led the royal guests upstairs to the Council House balcony where they spent almost 10 minutes waving to thousands of people in the Market Place and crowding into the Derwent Street and Corporation Street junction.

The huge crowd went wild when the royal pair took a walkabout around the new-look Market Place – which was no longer open to traffic and on one side the as-yet-unopened Assembly Rooms – greeting people who had waited patiently for hours to see them.

On route to Ripley, her car unexpectedly diverted to The Leylands, of which she had become a patron following the visit in 1957.

As a result, she arrived at Butterley Hall seven minutes late at 11.17am, where she officially opened the Derbyshire police headquarters, with 10,000 waiting to see her. After this she journeyed on to Chesterfield.

In March 1985, the Queen once again visited Derbyshire – though the city itself was not on her agenda on that occasion. The Queen visited Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Ashbourne to mark the 400th anniversary of the school.

Her itinerary also included the Thornton’s chocolate factory at Swanwick, where she admired a four-foot high chocolate bunny made by Swiss confisseur Walter Willen.

Later, she was presented with four, specially-crafted eggs for her grandchildren, Peter, Zara, William and Harry. She also officially opened Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

The Queen’s next visit to the area was in 1992 when she carried out a gruelling schedule, officially opening Carsington Reservoir, visiting Matlock, Wirksworth, Alton Manor and Derby.

In the city, she visited the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary and met consultants who had treated victims of the Kegworth air crash.

She also opened the newly-refurbished Queen’s Leisure Centre, where she was presented with a painting of her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, visiting Derby in 1891.

In 1997, the royal couple came to Derby to open Pride Park Stadium, which was a unique event during her reign as it was the first time she had ever opened a football ground. Pupils at the Royal School for the Deaf and patients and staff at the Derbyshire Children’s Hospital were also treated to a visit from the Queen on that July day.

In 2002, they returned again to Pride Park as part of their Golden Jubilee tour. Despite the heavy rain, it did not dampen the spirits of the 27,000-strong crowd awaiting Her Majesty’s arrival at Pride Park Stadium.

To mark the jubilee festivities, 18,440 gold balloons were released – one for each day of the Queen’s 50-year reign.

A year later in 2003, she opened the new Derby Cathedral Centre and the Magistrate’s Court in Chesterfield.

In 2010, the Queen came back to Derby and presented 84 men and 84 women with Maundy money – it was the 800th Maundy service.

Afterwards, she greeted crowds outside and then went to the Cathedral Quarter Hotel in St Mary’s Gate to dine before visiting the Royal Derby Hospital to officially open it – the last time she visited the city but not the county.

In 2014, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were cheered by crowds during a visit to the Derbyshire Dales.

They arrived shortly after 10am by train at Matlock Station and then went to John Smedley knitwear company in Lea Mills, before moving on to Chatsworth House.

As ever, crowds, including local schoolchildren, greeted the pair at all the venues and they were presented with flowers and gifts.

See below for pictures of the late Queen’s visits to Derby and Derbyshire

Written by: Admin

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