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Queens Visits Coventry

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Coventry today, for the Home Front Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication in the new Cathedral.

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[video capture - 3 March 2000]

The Queen travelled by train and was met at Coventry Station by the Duke of Edinburgh, who had flown into Baginton Airport.

Crowds lined the route along Little Park Street and Earl Street as the Royal Party made their way to the City's Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, where they opened the new exhibition 'Go To It! Life on the Home Front during World War Two'.

Among the many onlookers to whom the occasion brought back poignant memories was Mary and Alan Robbins, who now live in Leamington. During the war, Mary lived in Conduit Street, in the Spon Street area, now covered by the SkyDome complex. Although her house survived the wide-spread damage in that area, she vividly recalls the ferocity of the continual nightly attacks and the attempts to find safety in the shelter located in the GEC building.

After leaving the exhibition at midday, the Royal Party was driven the short distance to the Council House, where they were welcomed by the Lord Mayor, Cllr Joan Wright.

The Queen, looking relaxed and elegant in a deep turquoise and black ensemble, turned and waved to the large crowd.

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Archbishop of Canterbury - Coventry Cathedral - 3 March 2000After lunching at St Mary's Hall, The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh signed the Visitors' Book in the Hospitality Suite of the Council House, before walking through the Old Cathedral ruins en route to the service in the new Cathedral. The ruins, packed with spectators, were closed off early to those who did not have a special pass.

The Queen was escorted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, and by the Bishop of Coventry, Colin Benetts.

William Hague, Charles Kennedy, Coventry Cathedral - 3 March 2000Other dignitaries included the Prime Minister Tony Blair, his wife Cherie, and leader of the opposition William Hague and the leader of the Liberal Democrats Charles Kennedy. They received a warm welcome from the onlooking crowd, which included staff and students from the adjacent Coventry University.

There was a small demonstration from students protesting about tuition fees.

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CWN / Religion / Coventry Cathedral / 3 Mar 00

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