As Nottingham gears up to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, let’s look back on all the times the monarch has visited the city.
As the aftermath of the Second World War weighed heavily on Nottingham, the people needed cheering up. The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, made her debut royal visit to Nottingham as an Ambassador of Youth in April, 1946.
The visit received a great reception with a 10,000-strong crowd of residents turning up to catch a glimpse of the royal. The Queen attended tea and dinner at the Council House with the Lord Mayor, before visiting the Youth Week Exhibition and finishing her trip with a youth concert at the Albert Hall Conference Centre.
Princess Elizabeth, now 23, was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, and her mother, Queen Elizabeth, on the Royal Tour of the Midlands in 1949. The visit to Nottingham was made on June 28 during the city’s quincentenaries celebration. The police attempted to restrain the excited crowd who were waiting to see the newly-wed royals as they participated in a motorcade travelling to a packed Old Market Square.
Standing on the Council House balcony, the royal couple watched over performances by local schoolchildren, including a country dancing performance by 490 school girls.
They were then chauffeured north to Portland College in Mansfield, where Princess Elizabeth was presented with a bouquet and the Prince with a parade by the boys’ brigade. The visit ended with the Princess, soon to become the Queen, laying a foundation stone for the college.
Three years after her coronation, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh attended the second day of the Royal Show in Nottingham at Wollaton Park in June. Over 64,000 people gathered as the Queen’s car pulled up to begin the motorcade.
Grace Wilson, now 75, was present during the royal visit with her four-year-old sister. “We were with our parents and then put in the front row with flags and paper hats, where all the children were. The whole of Nottingham came for the event. It was quite the memory.”
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh later inspected a detachment of the Sherwood Foresters outside the Council House, after which they proceeded to The Forest where thousands of schoolchildren gave a spectacular display. To end their visit, they visited the Birkin lace making company and were given some Nottingham lace before heading to the Royal Show at Wollaton Park.
In 1968, the Queen visited Nottingham by herself to tour the Raleigh bicycle factory. After she arrived on the train, the ever-so-enthusiastic residents of Nottingham lined the roads to watch the royal car pass by. The Queen observed the workers of the factory at different stages of bicycle production and later signed the guest book.
1977 marked the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, 25 years since her accession to the throne. The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh travelled nearly 56,000 miles during the year as part of her jubilee tour. The welcoming crowd of Nottingham didn’t fail to give her a strong reception; parties, bunting, and flags covered the streets to celebrate the occasion.
On the day of her visit, a flag-waving crowd enveloped the street waiting for the royal car to make an appearance. She also officially opened the Queen’s Medical Centre, construction of which began in 1971.
Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh dropped by Nottingham in 1984, meeting with ice skating duo, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, and speaking about the Olympics.
On March 21, Queen Elizabeth made a brief visit to mark the centenary of Nottingham’s granting of ‘city’ status.
The Queen officially opened the Jubilee Campus at the University of Nottingham in September, 1999.
Marking the Golden Jubilee, the Queen and Prince Philip made a visit to the city where they were greeted the overjoyed crowd. Upon their visit, they also officially opened the Nottingham Ice Centre before watching a special ice gala.
As part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the Queen along with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made an appearance in Nottingham. They were received by a crowd of over 35,000 people as they visited Nottingham’s Council House and Vernon Park.
The crowd filled the market place in Nottingham town centre, anxiously waiting for the Queen, William and Kate who were presented with an endless amount of bouquets as they stopped by to chat with people in the crowd.
Wendy Sheldon, 57, was one of the thousands to watch the royal visit. “It was just an experience that I’ll always remember.”
Sources; Nottingham Post, Visit Nottinghamshire, Mace archive, MumblingNerd Blog.