Queen's Diamond Jubilee: Schoolchildren 'Bring A Smile To Her Face'

PA/Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 6/02/2012 18:05 Updated: 6/02/2012 18:05

The Queen's visit to rural towns and communities on her Diamond Jubilee was hailed as a special occasion, as she renewed her pledge to serve the nation and its people.

Echoing the famous words she delivered when a young princess in the 1940s, she vowed to "dedicate myself anew to your service".

The anniversary of the Queen's accession is normally recognised privately as it is the day her father, George VI, died.

But to mark the Diamond Jubilee, she travelled from her Sandringham estate - which, like much of England, was blanketed with snow - to King's Lynn to meet local dignitaries, tour the town hall and then spend time with children from the nearby Dersingham Infant and Nursery School.


Her Majesty's travelled from her Sandringham estate in a Range Rover

Head teacher Gayle Platt, 37, said the children were giddy in anticipation to meet the Queen.

"The children are very excited, they cannot wait. They were only told about the visit a few weeks ago. They've been learning a few songs and singing, and practising their curtseying."

She added: "Following the tour of the school, the children will present a short performance to Her Majesty reflecting on the past 60 years.

"I am sure this will be a memorable occasion which will be remembered by everyone for many years to come."

The children at Kings Lynn school were excited to meet the Queen

In a heartfelt Diamond Jubilee message to the nation, the Queen thanked all those who had given "wonderful support and encouragement" to her and the Duke of Edinburgh over the past six decades.

She said that she and Philip had been "deeply moved" by the many kind messages they had received about her 60-year milestone, and her statement carried a unifying message as she hoped this "special year" would remind the nation of the "convening strength of family, friendship and good neighbourliness".

The 85-year-old's statement of intent to continue to serve the nation reveals she has lost none of her desire to fulfill her role as head of state despite her advancing years.

In King's Lynn town centre, royal fans began gathering in cold, snowy conditions ahead of the visit.


Crowds gathered to see the Queen in Norfolk

Laura Skrzynski, who has been following the Queen for 21 years, travelled from London.

"I love that the monarchy is above politics and feel that the Queen represents that best of all," she said.

About 150 members of the public braved the cold outside King's Lynn town hall to see her arrive, wearing a turquoise, grey and white wool dress, coat and matching hat by Angela Kelly.

She smiled and waved before going inside, where guests paid tribute to her "dedicated and exemplary" service.

Giving an address inside the hall, town mayor Colin Sampson said: "For 60 years your majesty has given dedicated and exemplary service to the people of this country and the Commonwealth.


Not quite Buckingham Palace: The children created a "cosy castle" ahead of the Queen's visit

Later, the Queen visited the picturesque but snow-covered village of Dersingham, which is less than a mile from her private Sandringham estate.

A walkabout planned at the gates of Dersingham Infant and Nursery School was cancelled because of the heavy snow, which sat 5-inches (12.7cm) deep on the ground.

However inside the school, many classrooms had projects and displays with a royal theme.

In one class a "Royal Laundry" was in full operation with bloomers hanging on a line and more clothes drying below.

Decorated white underpants were stuck to the ceiling - all inspired by the children's book The Queen's Knickers, by Nicholas Allan.

Class teacher Carole Crane said: "The Queen came in and said 'Oh, they're doing the washing'. She did not say a lot but she smiled and seemed to be enjoying herself.

The Queen appeared relaxed throughout the visit, smiling often whenever she was introduced to a new member of staff or group of children.


A child curtseys to Her Majesty

When she walked into a class of six and seven-year-olds, her first words to teacher Catherine Mallett were "What are they doing this morning?"

She was told they were making plans to catch the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) from the Roald Dahl books.

The royal visitor appeared fascinated by a book with a built-in voice recorder that allowed the youngsters to tape their ideas, and listened as a recording was played back to her.

The use of technology caught her eye again when she toured a classroom where the pupils were using tiny laptops.

She smiled as teacher Lee Williamson described the benefits the children received from playing with b-bots - radio controlled robots - in a maze, telling her how the toys helped the pupils learn communication skills.

In one corner of the room was a large montage of photocopied newspaper pages about the Queen's coronation, which had come from a collection of memorabilia owned by Mr Williamson's parents.

The teacher said: "The Queen said that it was a really lovely effect and it was worth it because it brought a smile to her face."

At the end of the tour, the children gathered in the school hall where the Queen was the guest of honour at a musical revue.

The performance began with two children being scolded by their mother for not cleaning their bedroom and, as they set to work, they found a scrapbook about the Queen.

The memento contained pictures of "Grandma at the Coronation",

Then all the children joined in a rendition of Let's Do The Time Warp Again, from the Rocky Horror Show.

The children performed all the hip swaying actions before singing songs that highlighted fashion through the ages, the environment and other elements of the last six decades.

The Queen beamed throughout the performance and at the end was called on to the stage to be presented with Diamond Jubilee gifts.

The backdrop to the stage was a montage of magazine photographs of the Queen throughout her life, from a toddler to her wedding and beyond. Among the images were drawings of her by the children and a large picture of her complete with a dress made from doilies.

The Queen accepted a collection of presents from the youngsters who all gave elaborate bows.

Before leaving, the Queen unveiled a plaque to commemorate her visit and outside briefly met some children from a neighbouring school.

Head teacher Mrs Platt said: "It's incredible. I feel very, very privileged. It's been a memorable occasion, although 60 years is also time for reflection because the Queen's father died on this day."

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