Do you remember the Queen’s last visit to Havering?
Next spring it will be a decade since the Queen’s maiden visit to Havering.
Then, in March 2003, thousands of cheering residents, 40 deep in parts, lined the street for Her Majesty’s first tour of Romford and Hornchurch.
It was a sunny spring day and Romford Market Place revelled in a party atmosphere as the Queen, dressed in lilac, and Prince Philip greeted well-wishers, schoolchildren and stallholders.
For many it was a day they were never to forget.
Trader Ian Clarke said: “I presented the Queen with a plastic bowler hat full of sweets. She was much smaller than I thought she would be. It was a beautiful day and probably one of the highlights of my life.”
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A Recorder photographer captured the moment former Havering councillor Alby Tebbutt made the Queen giggle – quickly becoming an iconic image of the day.
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Alby said: “I said to her, ‘It’s a good job I didn’t meet you 30 years ago’. ‘Why is that?’ she asked. I looked at Philip and jokingly said ‘Because he wouldn’t have stood a chance.’
“The Queen lowered her handbag, put her hand on her stomach and started to laugh.”
The former Only Way is Essex (Towie) starlet Amy Childs – daughter of market trader Billy Childs – was 12-years-old when she and a friend were honoured with presenting the Queen with a bouquet of flowers. “I remember thinking how pretty she was,” Amy said. “The Duke asked me what was in my mouth – I was trying to explain about my braces!”
During the tour, the Queen also visited Redden Court School, in Cotswold Road, Harold Wood; Queen’s Theatre, in Billet Lane, Hornchurch, to unveil a plaque which launched the theatre’s 50th celebrations and the new HQ for the Havering Association for Voluntary and Community Organisations, in Eastern Avenue, Romford.