Royal visit to Malmesbury

The people of Malmesbury were thrilled to have a visit from Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh on December 7th 2001.

Her Majesty the Queen with the Mayor, John Bowen, in the grounds of Malmesbury Abbey

The royal guests arrived at the Town Hall at 1:15 to be welcomed by the Mayor, Councillor John Bowen. There they joined 100 people from the town for a lunch including rack of lamb which had been prepared by students from Chippenham College. Following this there was a short walkabout along Market Lane and Oxford Street finishing at the Abbey. There the royal couple were introduced to the vicar, Revd. David Littlefair, and various officers of the Abbey, and the Queen was presented with a posy by 10-year-old Ellie Langtree.

The Queen and Revd. David Littlefair
The Queen is introduced to the vicar, Revd. David Littlefair, by The Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire
The royal party then entered the Abbey to the sound of an organ fanfare written especially for the occasion by Abbey organist John Hughes. There then followed a short service to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee. Singers from St. Mary's School Calne, Wootton Bassett School and Malmesbury Abbey Choir performed two anthems that were sung at the Coronation in 1953. These were Rejoice in the Lord Alway by Redford, conducted by Sue Nunn from Wootton Bassett School, and I was Glad by Parry conducted by Geoffrey Field from St Mary's School. There were also prayers and a short Bible reading, followed by the National Anthem and the blessing.
At the end of the service, the Queen signed the Visitors Book, and met John Hughes, both conductors, and singers from the choirs. She was also presented with a gift of a painting of the Abbey's Altar Frontal by Francesca Fenn and a paperweight with the same design. The presentation was made by Pat Nicholson, standing in at the last minute for 92-year-old Elizabeth Woods who had unfortunately been admitted to hospital the previous day.
The Queen accepts the gift from the Abbey
The Queen accepts the Abbey's gift from Pat Nicholson

After the royal couple had left, many people expressed appreciation of how well the service had gone. Beneath the formality they both seemed to appreciate the opportunity to take part in the special service, and at the same time the congregation were able to welcome them as fellow members of the family of the Church.

The royal party concluded their time in Malmesbury with a visit to the Dyson factory, where they were shown their latest products and were presented with a DC05 Motorhead cylinder vacuum cleaner for Buckingham Palace.

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