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Royal charm

26 July 2012

BOTH the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh charmed the crowds when they visited Hereford Cathedral as their first engagement during the Herefordshire Diamond Day event. They were there to celebrate the recent refurbishment of the cathedral close which has been taking place over the past couple of years. New paths, trees, lighting, and railings have all enhanced the area that the Queen formally opened.

The royal couple talked happily to many of the thousands of people who had gathered to see them, the commercial development manager at the cathedral, Dominic Harbour, said. They seemed in particularly good form, "chatting to everybody" despite the recent worries about the Duke's health.

As the Queen performed the official opening, hundreds of blue and yellow balloons were released, each one bearing the promise of a free ticket to the cathedral library to see the Mappa Mundi, the medieval map of the known world. At the time of writing, I have been told that two people from the Oxford area have already been in touch to claim their tickets, and the cathedral authorities are hoping for many more.

The Queen and the Duke both signed the visitors' book (above). A commemorative plaque of the royal visit will be placed on an exterior wall at the west end of the cathedral.

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