News24

Rock star welcome for queen

2012-03-08 16:33

Leicester - Queen Elizabeth II was welcomed by a cheering crowd of thousands on Thursday as she began her diamond jubilee tour of Britain accompanied by Prince William's wife Catherine.

The queen visited Leicester in England's east Midlands, where students from one of the city's universities gave her the sort of ecstatic welcome usually reserved for rock stars.

Accompanied by her husband Prince Philip and Catherine - the former Kate Middleton - the royal party took a regular train for the 75-minute journey from London.

While other royals are visiting Commonwealth states around the world to mark the queen's 60 years on the throne, the sovereign and her husband Prince Philip are touring every region of Britain.

The pace is slow and steady to suit their ages - the queen is 85-years-old and the Duke of Edinburgh is 90-years-old - with the visits spread out between now and July.

Duke in good health

The Leicester visit was Prince Philip's first major public engagement since undergoing minor heart surgery in December.

The duke remains in robust health, having gone carriage driving over the weekend, the BBC reported.

Catherine has already accompanied the queen on a handful of engagements while William is serving in the Falkland Islands. The search-and-rescue pilot is on a six-week tour of duty.

Leicester has the biggest South Asian population of any city in Britain and the Queen was treated to a display of Bollywood-style dancing.