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Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh visit statue of Queen Elizabeth II, Oakham Castle and Rutland Water on first trip to county





Crowds of people lined the streets to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh to Rutland.

Union Jacks were flying and a buzz of excitement was in the air in Oakham today (Tuesday, May 14) as the royal couple made their first visit to the county.

The couple, who arrived by helicopter, began the tour with a visit to Rutland County Showground, where Sophie and Edward met the Lord Lieutenant, Dr Sarah Furness, who accompanied them on their visit.

The Duke of Edinburgh asked where people live
The Duke of Edinburgh asked where people live

The Duchess, who had her hair in a twisted up-do, wore a white shirt, green straight-leg trousers with a camel coat on top and shoes of the same colour. She carried an orange bag with an embellished tan strap.

The Duke donned a light coloured shirt and green tie with a khaki checked blazer, blue trousers and brown shoes.

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From the Rutland County Showground, the royal couple travelled to Oakham Castle in a navy Range Rover Discovery.

Police officers maintained control of the crowds
Police officers maintained control of the crowds

Despite the miserable weather, they rolled down the windows to wave to the hundreds of cheering primary school children who lined the castle grounds.

The Duke and Duchess chatted with many of the pupils, accepting flowers and reading cards, before heading inside the historic castle building where they presented a horseshoe.

The Duchess of Edinburgh meets crowds in Oakham. Photo: Chris Lowndes
The Duchess of Edinburgh meets crowds in Oakham. Photo: Chris Lowndes

A centuries old tradition dictates that royalty visiting Oakham for the first time should present a horseshoe to the Lord of the Manor.

The castle now has more than 230 horseshoes, which decorate the walls.

The royal couple stopped to have a chat with business owners
The royal couple stopped to have a chat with business owners

Their Royal Highnesses, not deterred by the rain, travelled to Oakham Library on foot, pausing to chat with people going about their day.

Outside the library is a memorial statue to Queen Elizabeth II, the first to be created in tribute to the Duke’s mother, who died in September 2022.

The Duke of Edinburgh meets crowds in Oakham. Photo: Chris Lowndes
The Duke of Edinburgh meets crowds in Oakham. Photo: Chris Lowndes

Sophie and Edward are the first royal visitors to the statue since it was unveiled a couple of weeks ago following a public fundraising campaign.

Crowds gathered by the statue of Queen Elizabeth II
Crowds gathered by the statue of Queen Elizabeth II

They watched a short film about the making of the statue and met with Molly Banham and Freddie Newham who were the winners of the Corgi and Crowns Competition, which was part of the unveiling event.

After admiring the statue, which was created by sculptor Hywell Pratley, the pair headed to Rutland Water for a tour of the reservoir on the Rutland Belle.

The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh meet crew ahead of boarding the Rutland Belle
The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh meet crew ahead of boarding the Rutland Belle

They returned to Rutland County Showground, the final stop of the day, where they visited The Duke of Edinburgh Memorial Orchard and met with members of Root and Branch Out, a group which supports gardening for children.




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