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Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh take a trip across Rutland Water on board the Rutland Belle





Royal visitors experienced the jewel in Rutland’s crown with a boat trip around Rutland Water during their visit to the county.

The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh set sail on the Rutland Belle for a 45-minute tour this afternoon (Tuesday, May 14).

It followed their visit to Oakham Castle earlier in the day where the couple presented a horseshoe before viewing the town’s memorial statue to Queen Elizabeth II outside Oakham Library.

The crew carry out their final checks to the Rutland Belle
The crew carry out their final checks to the Rutland Belle

It was only the second time in its 39-year history that the Rutland Belle had welcomed royal guests on board. The first was the Duke of Gloucester who was entertained by the boat’s original owners Trevor and Joan Broadhead.

This time it was their son Matt at the helm.

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Gallery of photos

Despite his initial nerves, Captain Matt was looking forward to the trip and said the journey from Whitwell Harbour went without a hitch.

Edward arrives at Whitwell Harbour
Edward arrives at Whitwell Harbour

He said: “It was really good fun and they were really friendly. I told them about the history of the family business.”

As well as taking in the views of Normanton Church, the duke was keen to have a look at the workings of the boat. It is powered by a 1947 Gardner 5LW engine which was originally used to supply auxiliary power to the Royal Train.

The Duke of Edinburgh enjoyed a trip on the Rutland Belle. Photo: Chris Lowndes
The Duke of Edinburgh enjoyed a trip on the Rutland Belle. Photo: Chris Lowndes

While Edward was occupied by engines, his wife Sophie spent time chatting with Rutland MP Alicia Kearns (Con).

Mrs Kearns said: “It has been an absolute joy. They were so down to earth. We talked about the history of the county and its food, and also spoke a lot about foreign policy and what it’s like to be a woman in public life.

Guests wait to board the boat
Guests wait to board the boat

“I love our county and being able to show it off to them has been such a privilege.”

The trip aboard the Rutland Belle was coordinated by the chairman of Discover Rutland, Jason Allen, who was asked by the Lord Lieutenant to come up with a plan to showcase Rutland Water. He said: “It was a great opportunity for the duke and duchess to see the jewel in Rutland’s crown.

“My emphasis was to show them how important the visitor economy is to Rutland.”

The boat was crewed by Matt and Sarah Broadhead, boatmaster Paul Dadford and David Merrison.

The engine of the Rutland Belle
The engine of the Rutland Belle

Among the invited guests were Jason Allen and his partner Shaun Etherton, the managing director and events managers of Anglian Water Parks, Jake Williams and Angela Tobin, the owner of the Olive Branch, Ben Jones, and his wife Clare, High Sheriff of Rutland Richard Cole, Rutland’s police and crime commissioner Rupert Matthews and the chief executive of Anglian Water, Peter Simpson.

The Duchess of Edinburgh enjoyed a trip on the Rutland Belle. Photo: Chris Lowndes
The Duchess of Edinburgh enjoyed a trip on the Rutland Belle. Photo: Chris Lowndes

During the cruise the guests enjoyed canapes prepared by Ben Fisher and Aaron Ella of The Olive Branch at Clipsham. Their menu included cauliflower veloute, chilled gazpacho, Rutland Water trout, Melton Mowbray pork pie, slow cooked beef rib and desserts of sticky toffee pudding and baked vanilla cheesecake.

Head chef Ben said: “It was my first time catering for royalty but it went really well. The duke came straight over to say hello to us all when he boarded the boat which was nice.”

The menu
The menu

A small crowd of visitors gathered to watch the royal couple disembark before they returned to Rutland Showground for the final stage of their visit.

A handful of people watched the couple arrive at Rutland Water
A handful of people watched the couple arrive at Rutland Water
The Duke of Edinburgh enjoyed a 45-minute trip around Rutland water
The Duke of Edinburgh enjoyed a 45-minute trip around Rutland water
The Duke of Edinburgh waves goodbye
The Duke of Edinburgh waves goodbye

Send your news to: news@lincsonline.co.uk



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