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Comment 24 NOVEMBER 2012

Royalty enter stage right: The Queen treads the boards on a visit to Bristol

24 NOVEMBER 2012

Visiting one of the UK's most famous theatres the Queen seemed keen to add her name to list of high profile names that have walked the stage. During Thursday's Diamond Jubilee visit to Bristol, with her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, her Majesty took a tour of the city and was treated to a special performance of Peter Pan at Bristol's Old Victoria Theatre.

To celebrate the playhouse's multimillion pound reconstruction, the monarch reopened the royal box, before testing its view with Prince Philip. From their special seats artistic director Tom Morris was able to point out some of the restoration's finer details.

 

The Queen


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Following her theatrical debut the Queen visited Bailey Caravan Factory in the city's southwestern town, Ashton Vale. Taking time to explore some of the latest motorhomes, even enjoying a short ride in one, Queen Elizabeth was shown around by Bailey's managing director Nick Howard. Prompted by their want to see manufacturing businesses in the city the royal couple also perused some caravans that were still under construction.

After a private lunch at Bristol's museum, M Shed, the duo, who celebrated their 65 year wedding anniversary just a few days before their visit, headed to The Gatehouse Centre. Here the Queen joined a group of youngsters singing nursery rhymes at the centre's day nursery, whilst the 91-year-old Duke met with the centre's volunteers who were taking part in craft activities.

Whilst the skies were somewhat grey, the 86-year-old looked bright and cheery in her pink buttoned overcoat and matching hat. Hoards of well-wishers were also undeterred by the weather and lined the streets to greet the monarch who smiled widely as she accepted their floral gifts.

 

Queen Elizabeth II



The Bristol trip was the first in seven years for the royals, who last visited the western English city in 2005. During the visit they headed to Knowle West to see the Park Community Centre and watched a hip-hop dance performance by some of its students.

The Queen's most recent engagement in Bristol during her Diamond Jubilee year is in-keeping with a similar trip made as part of her Silver Jubilee tour in 1977. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were driven around the city's streets in a glass-topped Rolls Royce and visited Filton High School, where, to the delight of 30,000 flag wavers, they spent 20 minutes meeting the local people as part of a walkabout.

Visiting in 1958 was one of her most memorable trips. The Queen was given the honour of making the first ever directly dialed long-distance phone call in the UK. Prior to her Majesty's call from Bristol's Central Telephone Exchange to the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, members of the public had to be connected by an operator. Her Royal Highness' call to Scotland, the greatest distance a person could make on the new system, lasted for two minutes and five seconds and cost around nine pence.

Now heading into the last of their Jubilee duties, the Queen and her Prince will no doubt be fondly be looking back at those magical moments that made the year so special. In June all eyes were on the Jubilee Concert, Thames River Pageant and the spectacular service at St Paul's Cathedral.

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