Hundreds greet Queen at hospital
Hundreds of people have warmly welcomed The Queen as she officially opened new hospitals in Manchester.
The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, opened Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, Saint Mary's Hospital and a new wing at Manchester Royal Infirmary.
The royal party enjoyed hazy spring sunshine as they arrived at the hospital trust, as hundreds of people lined the streets and clapped, cheered and waved union flags.
The Queen and Duke had arrived at Victoria Station before moving on to the new hospital complex where they met staff and patients and listened to a specially-commissioned musical work by the Royal Northern College of Music.
Later, the Queen officially opened the massive MediaCityUK development at Salford Quays, where BBC North has its HQ. Hundreds of schoolchildren and adults cheered and waved Union flags on her arrival, with one youngster handing her a home-made greeting card saying "Welcome to Salford" and a posy of flowers.
Mark Thompson, director-general of the BBC, and Peter Salmon, director of BBC North, accompanied the royal visitor on a tour of the buildings. First stop was the studio where Match Of The Day and Football Focus are filmed. Presenter Dan Walker gave the Queen a run-down on how the programme is put together before the royal visitor was escorted to the Children's TV studios, where CBBC and Newsround are broadcast.
There, the Queen was given a display of puppetry by the characters Hacker T Dog and Dodge T Dog, Phil Fletcher and Warrick Brownlow-Pike respectively, who present links between children's shows. "We thought you might bring the corgis with you?" Hacker T Dog said - before the puppetmasters appeared from beneath the desk to reveal themselves with a bow. "That's very good, isn't it?" the Queen said.
Well-wishers basked in the sunshine as they waited to greet the Queen and the Duke after they enjoyed a three-course lunch of local produce at Manchester Town Hall.
While there the Queen met newlyweds John and Frances Canning, of Prestwich, Greater Manchester. The couple had booked the town hall as their wedding venue months earlier but their big day went ahead today rather than switching the ceremony date to accommodate the royal visit. It is understood that Buckingham Palace was keen not to inconvenience the wedding and it is believed the Cannings also had the added bonus of the Queen featuring in their wedding photographs.
She went on to view a Jubilee Garden unveiled in Albert Square in her honour as the gathered crowds cheered when she stepped outside the town hall. The colourful, diamond-shaped garden consists of plants, trees, vegetables and herbs - and has as its centrepiece an enormous "throne" sculpted from a fallen beech tree from Wythenshawe Park. The garden will later move across the city centre to nearby Exchange Square ahead of the Olympic Games, while the throne sculpture will be auctioned for the Lord Mayor's We Love Manchester charity.