03:45PM, Thursday 12 April 2018
A royal relationship that has lasted 60 years was rekindled today when the Queen visited Windsor’s King George VI Day Centre which she first opened in 1958.
Excitement built as the regulars at the club in Clarence Road waited for the Queen to arrive at 11am.
She arrived five minutes late and during her tour revealed to the centre’s co-ordinator Charlotte Moore that she had been caught out by the guard change which closes the town centre to traffic.
She told Ms Moore: ‘We had to go the long way round, down the Long Walk’.
On her arrival, the Queen was greeted by the centre’s trustees, led by their chairman David Cannon.
The Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Cllr John Lenton, and the mayoress Mrs Margaret Lenton, Chief Constable Francis Habgood, of Thames Valley Police, the Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire James Puxley and the High Sheriff of Berkshire Graham Barker were also there to greet her.
Inside, the Queen met volunteer Kathy Pirrie, leading some of the residents in a gentle seated exercise that involved holding and bouncing balls.
Her Majesty meets some Windsor locals taking part in a SMILE (Small Movements Improves Life Everyday) seated exercise class. pic.twitter.com/qiU88F5IX7— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) 12 April 2018
“That looks fun to do. Are they balloons?” the Queen asked, before picking up one of them.
She moved into the salon, where Debbie Lewin was putting the finishing touches to her mother’s hair.
An hour earlier mum Pat Morris, 87, had still been under the hairdryer.
“I aim to be combing her out so she looks just right when the Queen sees us,” said Ms Lewin.
The Queen visited the kitchen where chef Tracy Riggs, who cooks lunches for the regulars, was being helped by her granddaughter Leah, 14, who attends Holyport College.
In a speech, Mr Cannon thanked the Queen for remaining patron of the club from its start.
He said: “Having you as patron has been a source of pride and encouragement.
“To use a horse riding analogy it has spurred us on.”
Before leaving, the Queen cut a 60th birthday cake, made by Cllr Dee Quick (Con, Clewer East), deputy mayor of the Royal Borough.
She said: “My mother was closely involved in the setting up of the club. When I heard it was in financial difficulty a few years ago I knew my mum would be look-ing down on me and expecting me to help.”
It was the Queen’s first visit in 10 years to the day centre.
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