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The Queen is welcomed to Wiltshire
10:10am Wednesday 2nd May 2012 in Queen Elizabeth celebrates her diamond jubilee
They call it the ‘Queen effect’ – when leaden skies and torrential rain give way to glorious sunshine on the appearance of the monarch.
And that is exactly what happened at Salisbury’s Cathedral Close when the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Wiltshire Diamond Jubilee celebration event on Tuesday.
Excitement was at fever pitch among the towns of Wiltshire as they prepared their “jousting” tents for the vast crowds expected to attend.
Several had been selected for a royal visit, including those belonging to Devizes, Pewsey, Marlborough and Malmesbury.
As crowds gathered for the gala, umbrellas went down, raincoats were packed into shopping bags and those foresighted enough to cover every eventuality brought out sun hats and sun block.
In the central arena there was entertainment from 10am, starting off with music from the Band of the Prince of Wales Division, followed by medieval combat re-enactment from the Battle of Roundway Re-enactment Group.
There was morris dancing, maypole dancing, a falconry display and, most poignantly, performances by the Salisbury Plain Military Wives Choir, which has achieved national recognition.
Among their repertoire were Great Day, Lean on Me and Sunshine. They finished their set with Wherever You Are, their Number 1 hit, and Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend.
The royal couple arrived in Salisbury by train and were taken to The Rifles Regimental Museum, where they attended a lunch hosted by Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council.
There they met Wiltshire councillors and the mayors of the towns represented at the fair, though the mayors were not invited to lunch.
Then they delighted the crowds by arriving at the west door of Salisbury Cathedral.
After taking in the exhibits from the towns, they went into the cathedral where they spoke to children working on a Magna Carta project and met stone- masons at work.
They admired the contemporary font, designed by William Pye and unveiled in 2008.
After leaving the cathedral, the Queen unveiled a stone tablet to commemorate the royal couple’s visit. It reads: “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh visited Wiltshire and the cathedral on 1 May 2012 in the year of her diamond jubilee.”