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Queen celebrates with communities

The Queen has celebrated her Diamond Jubilee with the people of Norfolk - a simple visit to mark a momentous event.

After 60 years on the throne the communities close to her private Sandringham estate are where the sovereign wanted to be.

It was a day of contrasts for the monarch who began it by issuing a heartfelt Diamond Jubilee message in which she promised to renew her pledge to serve the nation and its people. She later found herself facing a washing line of bloomers in a "Royal Laundry" as she toured Dersingham Infant and Nursery school. The risque display - which included decorated underpants pinned to the ceiling - seemed to amuse the monarch.

The school's head teacher, Gayle Platt, highlighted how the anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne is tinged with sadness because February 6 is the day her father, George VI, died in 1952.

Summing up the feelings among her staff and pupils she said: "It's incredible. I feel very, very privileged. It's been a memorable occasion, although 60 years is also time for reflection because the Queen's father died on this day. So it must be hard to a degree to come here to celebrate the 6th of February, but we feel very privileged. I hope she would have picked up the fun and enthusiasm of the children and how much we actually appreciate what she does for us."

Lady Penn, a friend of the monarch since they were both 20, summed up her qualities in an interview with the BBC.

She said: "She's got a very deep faith which is, I think, very important in her life. She's very kind. She has a lot of common sense and great wisdom, she really has. Somebody said to me the other day that she has been the still small voice of calm in a really social revolution in this country over the last 60 years - and she has."

It was business as usual for the monarch despite the Diamond Jubilee and she travelled from her Sandringham estate - which, like much of England, is blanketed with snow - to King's Lynn to meet local dignitaries and tour the town hall.

At the end of the tour, the children gathered in the school hall where the Queen was the guest of honour at a musical revue that used songs performed by the pupils to highlight the changes in society over the last six decades.

The Queen beamed throughout the performance and at the end was called on to the stage to be presented with an armful of Diamond Jubilee gifts.

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