The Queen Visits IOW And New Forest
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh today brought the curtain down on their Diamond Jubilee tour of the UK with visits to the Isle of Wight and the New Forest.
Thousands of flag-waving people turned out in Cowes as the royal party arrived on board the motor yacht Leander through a parade of sail featuring a host of superyachts.
A 21-gun salute was fired from the Royal Yacht Squadron before the Queen and Philip came ashore to be met by the Lord-Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight, Major General Martin White, and other dignitaries.
As they walked along the seafront amid cheers, claps and fluttering Union flags in sweltering heat, they stopped to unveil a plaque marking the Queen's visit and the Diamond Jubilee.
In the crowd, Marlene Chester, from East Cowes, who handed the Queen flowers from her garden, said: ''She was wonderful. When she walked past me I was so disappointed but then she came back. I'm so excited.''
Guides and Brownies leader Kay Burnley-Smith, 24, said: ''Philip wanted to know whether we got here at 5am. It was a great moment.''
Schoolchildren from Cowes Primary School sang a song entitled The Nation's Crown which was written and composed by their music teacher Becky Bevan to celebrate the jubilee.
One of the singing pupils, 10-year-old Bethany Walpole-Davis, shed some tears at the emotion of the occasion.
Afterwards, she said: ''I'm so happy. I have never done anything like that before.''
The crowd burst into claps and three cheers as the royal party moved on.
Later, the Queen - wearing a peach Stewart Parvin outfit and hat by Rachel Trevor-Morgan - and Philip strolled beneath cloudless skies to the RNLI lifeboat station to formally open it, and a blessing was conducted by the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher Foster.
Crew and donors were greeted before a new lifeboat, Sheena Louise, was launched. The royal party moved to Cowes Yacht Haven to view displays by marine volunteer and youth organisations, including the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust which helps young people gain confidence after treatment for cancer by taking them sailing.
Dame Ellen said: ''The Queen was really interested to talk to the young people and was totally engaged and interested in what we do.
''We talked about the cancer trust, what it does and the range of people we have on the stand.
''It's fantastic that the Queen has come to the Isle of Wight, and I'm immensely proud to tell her about the cancer trust.''
Isle of Wight-based Michelin-starred chef Robert Thompson presented the Queen with a hamper containing island produce including snacks for her corgis, such as island biltong.
Mr Thompson, 30, said: '
'I told her there was some biltong for her corgis in the hamper and she laughed at that.
''The hamper contains produce by 25 producers, including garlic and champagne.
''It was fantastic and a real honour to present it to the Queen.''
A specially-commissioned glass bowl from the people of the island was presented to the Queen before she and Philip departed by helicopter to the New Forest in Hampshire.
Today concludes the Diamond Jubilee tour which has seen the Queen and Philip travel the length and breadth of the UK to thank the British public in the 60th year of her reign.
The tour started in March in Leicester and took in 83 public engagements in 10 different regions of the UK, during which they travelled by a range of means - car, royal train, aircraft and ship.
Later, the Queen and Philip visited the New Forest and Hampshire County Show.
Thousands of people turned the showground in New Park, Brockenhurst, red, white and blue to welcome the royal party who were greeted at the venue by the show's president and television presenter Alan Titchmarsh.
Their first stop was the old time farming and blacksmiths' area where there were 60 static vintage tractors displayed to mark the Diamond Jubilee.
Next the Queen made her way through the crowds to the members' enclosure as well-wishers cheered and sent their good wishes along the way.
After lunch, she met representatives from New Forest-based Furzey Gardens, which won a gold medal at this year's Chelsea Flower Show, before she toured a Best of British tent.
Afterwards, the Queen and Philip viewed a show ring where 60 ponies paraded, marking each year of the Queen's reign.
While the royal party were in the ring, they took the chance to view prize-winning sheep and cattle.
The Queen's final duties included planting a tree at the New Forest Corner, where she viewed a number of stalls and displays.
Her biggest smile came at the end when she mingled with children from Longdown Activity Farm and watched youngsters prepare desserts.
Titchmarsh said: ''It has been such a wonderful day and the Queen hasn't stopped smiling.
''She is a country woman at heart and I think she has enjoyed seeing everything the show offers. Not even the heat has stopped her. She is the cool customer.''