Crowds of around 1,000 turn out to greet Her Majesty the Queen in Harold Hill

It may have taken a while for the crowds to build up, but for those who caught a glimpse of the Queen on her first ever visit to Harold Hill it was an unforgettable day.

Just under 1,000 people turned out to see her walk in and out of Drapers’ Academy, wearing a salmon pink dress today (Friday).

A smaller-than-expected crowd of around 150 were treated to a close-up look as she arrived at the Settle Road school just after midday.

Edwina Ellington, 26, of Gidea Park, who was with her daughter Gabriella, four, said: “I’m so excited to think that the Queen is taking time out of her schedule to come to Harold Hill.

“It’s gone through a lot of regeneration so it’s great she’s here.”

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Students from Pyrgo Priory Primary School, also in Settle Road, formed a cheering and shouting guard of honour as she emerged from Drapers’.

Click on the video above to see some of the journey.

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The tension built among the now much larger crowd - with several false rumours spreading that she was almost outside - before Her Majesty delighted several children and their families, stopping to talk to them and collect flowers and gifts, on her walk away.

Oakley Drive resident Marie King is, by her own admission, “not a royalist”, but she was reduced to tears by the sight of the Queen.

Before she caught a glimpse of the monarch she said: “I’m not a royalist but I do like Pippa and Kate. It’s just nice to see so many people about – especially as Harold Hill has had such a bad name in the past.”

But afterwards she said: “It was lovely. She looked absolutely beautiful and it was so nice to see her. I’ve got tears in my eyes. She looked absolutely gorgeous. My granddaughter’s favourite colour is pink.”

Click on the gallery on the top right hand corner of the page to see more pictures from the visit.

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