MEMORABILIA FUND: The Queen has made more than 40 official visits to Kent
As the nation prepares for the funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, InYourArea has compiled photos and videos of visits she made to East Kent and the lives she touched.
During her long reign, the Queen visited the county many times to carry out official engagements and to visit friends.
We hope our tribute, celebrating Her Majesty’s life, will bring back memories and illustrate the deep love she had for the people of Kent.
From walks and visits to the barracks, to spending time talking to members of the Few, the Queen has demonstrated her desire to serve the public.
In March 1958, the Queen and Prince Philip visited Dover on their way home from Holland. Upon disembarking from the royal yacht Britannia, the royal couple were greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of Kent and cheering crowds, before being driven to Dover Castle.
The Queen also visited, in July 2005, to open two new passenger ferry docks at the Port of Dover. Afterwards, the royal couple greeted the crowds for a walk on the promenade and toured the Dover Watersports Centre.
As newlyweds, the Queen and Prince Philip spent many happy days with Lord and Lady Brabourne at their home in Mersham, near Ashford. In June 1950, Princess Elizabeth became godmother to their second son and attended his christening at the parish church.
The royal couple often spent time at Newhouse. Local residents have fond memories of seeing the Queen taking her dogs out for a morning walk in the village, while Prince Philip enjoyed taking part in cricket matches at Mersham Le Hatch.
In October 1987, the Queen and senior members of the Royal Family attended the wedding of Lady Brabourne’s daughter, Lady Amanda Knatchbull, at St Mary’s Parish Church, Ashford.
During a visit to Mersham in April 1957, Prince Charles and Princess Anne were treated to a ride on the narrow gauge steam trains on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway.
The young prince waved off the ‘hurricane’ baseplate as they passed by onlookers on their way to New Romney station.
Later, in May 1994, Her Majesty presided over events heralding the start of a new era in transport, officially opening the Channel Tunnel in elaborate ceremonies in Kent and Coquelles.
Leaving foggy Folkestone, the royal group traveled to Calais on a Eurostar train, with the Queen and President Mitterrand making the return journey in his Rolls-Royce Phantom VI aboard Le Shuttle.
In March 2015, Her Majesty was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh when she officially opened The Wing, a £3.5million visitor and education center on the site of the Battle of Britain Memorial in Capel-le-Ferne.
The royal couple met some of the last remaining members of the Few, pilots and aircrew who played such a decisive role in defeating the Luftwaffe in the skies over Kent.
Unfortunately, the weather was bad, with heavy fog obscuring the view over the English Channel and causing a Hurricane, Spitfire and Typhoon overflight to be cancelled. However, dozens of local school children showed up anyway, dressed in waterproof ponchos and excitedly waving flags.
The Queen received a bouquet from seven-year-old Anais when she met crew, families and volunteers at Margate RNLI station in November 2011.
Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, Her Majesty gave the Royal Seal of Approval to the new Turner Contemporary gallery, where she met artist Tracey Emin and pupils from Northdown Primary School.
It was not Her Majesty’s first trip to Thanet as in July 1951 she visited the Royal School for the Deaf and Dumb in Margate. The Princess had presented William Slater with the Championship Cup awarded to the best boy and the captain of the best house.
Before their hazy visit to the Battle of Britain Memorial in March 2015, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh traveled to Canterbury to watch the unveiling of their statues.
They had taken sculptor Nina Bilbey six months to sculpt and mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The statues were installed on the west door of the cathedral, complementing the existing ones of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria.
The city has seen many visits from the Queen, including a trip to the cathedral in December 1976 when she and the Archbishop joined in a ‘distinguished luncheon’ in the dining room of the King’s School. The Cantuarian describes it as “a splendid lunch of avocado pear with prawns followed by a chicken supreme”.
Next, she visited the restored Dean’s Chapel and spoke with stained glass specialists before taking part in Evensong, joined by the mayor and local dignitaries.
The Queen’s visit in June 2013 was a much bleaker affair, as she visited Howe Barracks, Canterbury, before it closed due to spending cuts.
600 people left when the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (5 Scots) moved to Edinburgh in 2014. There were tears all around as the Queen bid a poignant farewell to the army.
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