LOOKING BACK - May 11, 2017 edition

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Royal visit to Rugby in 1967

On May 12, 1967 Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh visited Rugby.

After leaving St Pancras on the ten-coach Royal Train, they had spent the previous night in a siding near West Wickham, Middlesex, before travelling to Rutland that morning to present a horseshoe to the Castle at Oakham. The train was eight minutes late arriving at Rugby’s Midland Station that afternoon, where 5,000 people were waiting to cheer the Royal party.

After a 62-minute tour of English Electric they took a slow drive through the town centre to the top of Barby Road, where the Queen opened the commemorative gates - designed by Rugby architect Keith Kellett - with a golden key. She said: “I am delighted to visit Rugby on the 400th anniversary of the School. “Rugby occupies a special place among our schools and Rugbeians have played a notable part in the history of our country.”

It was only the second visit of a reigning monarch to the town in 58 years, the previous one being King Edward VII in 1909 when he opened the Temple Speech Room. Her Majesty planted a golden elm on the Close with the same spade he had used to plant an oak there.

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother had been to Rugby in July 1961, to open the Town Hall and also visited the school. It was a particularly memorable day as she was suffering with an injured ankle and, insisting on fulfilling her schedule, spent part of the day in a wheelchair.