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Queen of the Lakes: Thousands turn out for historic Royal visit
JUBILANT cheer and a sea of Union flags greeted the Queen and her daughter on their visit to South Lakeland yesterday.
Thousands came out in the sunshine to catch a glimpse of Her Majesty and the Princess Royal, as they stopped at Kendal, Burneside, Bowness and Windermere.
Oxenholme station was packed with well wishers as the duo pulled up in the Diamond Jubilee Royal train, before heading to Kendal town centre where ten-deep crowds waited in anticipation.
The atmosphere buzzed with remarks of admiration as the pair chatted to dignitaries, cadets, members of the Royal British Legion and soldiers.
But revellers surrounding the War memorial became concerned when one soldier sat down after the Monarch addressed him.
There were fears that Fijian-born Sgt Rusiate Bolavucu had fainted, but in fact he chose not to stand.
Sgt Bolavucu, who was representing the Burma Company, part of the 1st Battalion Duke of Lancaster Regiment, said: “It is a traditional and cultural thing for people from Fiji to do when they meet a head of state. It is a way of showing respect.
“The Queen has been to Fiji so she knows about it, and she had asked me where I was from, so she smiled when she saw what I was doing.”
The 32-year-old was among other solders from the 1st Battalion, who had just returned from Afghanistan, and those from 4th Battalion the Duke of Lancaster Regiment, who all managed to say a few words to the Royal guests.
Coun for Kendal Parks, Phillip Walker, also got to talk to Her Majesty, and he made sure she did not leave without Kendal’s famous sugary treat.
Mr Walker, who had been in the town centre at 8am to make sure he got a glance of the Royals, said: “I gave the Queen some of Romney’s chocolate covered mint cake. She thanked me for it and I said thank you for visiting Kendal. She seemed really friendly and smiley and it was so exciting to see her, and the Princess Royal, in my home town.”
Mint Cake was not the only foodie treat that the visitors left with, as both were given a hamper of goods from Made in Cumbria.
And the Queen seemed pleased to receive one product in particular. Retail manager Tracey Graham, who presented the hampers, said: “She said that she was definitely going to keep the damson gin for herself!
“Princess Anne was also thrilled with the gift and said that she hoped the Mint Cake we included would see her through the day.”
After receiving posies from Kendal school pupils, Amelia Nicholl and Harry Coward, the Queen, who was wearing a green and blue floral dress with a plain green coat, and her only daughter headed to Burneside.
There they gave the Royal seal of approval to a new multi-million pound plant at specialist paper makers James Cropper.
Her Majesty and the Princess Royal were given an insight into the business’ daily operations and met young apprentices before unveiling a plaque to open the new £5m recycling plant.
“They were both really interested in what we were doing and asked lots of questions,” said Mark Starrs, a colour co-ordinator.
“I was put at ease very quickly.”
The Royal Party then travelled to Bowness, where they were greeted with flags, bunting and a very excited crowd.
Those assembled clamoured for the chance to speak to Her Majesty, who was presented with gifts and posies, before setting out on old-fashioned steamer, MV Teal.
Her Stewart Parvin outfit was complemented by the sparkling waters of Windermere on the 15-minute sail, which took her to the Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole.
There, she met several local dignitaries and told schoolchildren she hoped Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge’s baby would be born ‘soon’.
And the visitors certainly did not go home hungry after lunch at Miller Howe Hotel, Windermere.
On the menu was local smoked salmon with Morecambe Bay potted shrimps, Cumbrian spring lamb and for dessert, raspberry and lemon tart.
Manager Nigel Williamson said: “We had cheated a little because we looked up online what the Queen did and did not like, and found that lamb was her favourite.
“But they both seemed to enjoy all of the dishes, and spoke to all the staff afterwards. It was such an honour.”
After a day packed with smiles and laughter, mother and daughter embraced before making separate journeys home.
Her Majesty once again boarded the Royal train and waved goodbye to station staff, police and members of the public, while the Princess departed by helicopter from Kirkbie Kendal School.
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