People line the streets for Her Majesty

THOUSANDS of people lined the streets this morning as the Queen came to the coast. Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Royal party arrived at the town's station in the Queen's carriage and headed up to the Guild Hall.

THOUSANDS of people lined the streets this morning as the Queen came to the coast.

Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Royal party arrived at the town's station in the Queen's carriage and headed up to the Guild Hall.

The pavements were packed with cheering onlookers including many pupils who could not resist the chance to skip lessons for Her Majesty's first visit to the town in 46 years.

Kevin Good, 32, and his daughter Chantel, 10, were at the front of the crowd in Church Street. Mr Good said: "We were waiting for about half an hour and got really excited.

"I have not seen her before, not close up anyway. We are planning to follow her down to the pier.

"Chantel is having the morning off but it's pretty bad that the children from the Harwich school have not been able to come."

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Rosie Thurston, 43, of King's Quay Street, was there with her dad, Basil, who is celebrating his 81st birthday. She said: "We live locally and have been here this morning watching it all build up.

"We support the Queen, I have not seen her before so we are going to follow her around the town. She has been so lucky with the Essex weather."

At 10.35am the Royal party arrived at the Guildhall in Church Street with crowds waving Union Jack flags lining both sides of the street. The Queen was wearing a red hat and maroon dress and greeted the waiting dignitaries including Harwich MP Ivan Henderson and the town's Mayor, Andrew Morrison.

The crowd clapped as she exited the Royal car and headed into the Guildhall. Once inside Her Majesty was shown a visitors' book that she and Prince Philip signed on their last visit to the town in 1958. She also added her name to this year's book and signed a print of herself which will go up in the Guidhall.

Inside she spoke to many of the dignitaries including Bill Bleakley who explained the importance of the town's 400-year Royal charter established in 1604.

They also viewed an exhibition on the history of the granting of Harwich's Charter 400 years ago and enjoyed a tour around the old Gaol with its authentic 18th century graffiti and carvings of ships.

Her Majesty was then set to enjoy the sea breeze with a public walkabout on the Halfpenny Pier which currently has the Mayflower exhibition.

And later in the morning Prince Phillip was to lay the first foundation stone of Trinity House's new headquarters.

The redevelopment of the site, set to be opened next year, will safeguard more than 100 existing jobs in Harwich and create another 60 at the port.

The Royal party's tour was also to take in the 1912 centre, where the Millennium embroideries are on display.

Then it was to be on to the recently restored Electric Palace – one of the oldest purpose-built cinemas in Great Britain.

Today's Royal visit follows a request two years ago for a senior royal person to visit Harwich to mark the anniversary of the granting of its charter.

This afternoon the party was to head to Colchester for a walkabout in the town centre and lunch in the Town Hall.

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