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Queen visits zoo on Jubilee tour

The Queen has come face-to-face with a rhinoceros as her Diamond Jubilee tour continued.

The encounter came as the monarch was making her first visit to Chester Zoo in Cheshire. She was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh as part of their visit to the North West which began in Lancashire on Wednesday.

The Queen, who was wearing a coral dress and coat by Stewart Parvin and a matching hat by Rachel Trevor-Morgan, arrived at the zoo to loud cheers and applause from hundreds of well-wishers waving Union flags. Some had arrived as early as 6.30am to get a glimpse of the Queen.

Gloria Ackerley, 65, from Delamere, Cheshire, arrived at 7.45am with her daughter Elizabeth, 40, and granddaughter Daisy, four. Mrs Ackerley said: "We just want to see the Queen. She is such a special person and the Jubilee is a historic occasion."

Mrs Ackerley brought a Union flag with her which had been in her family since the coronation, when they had a street party near their former Essex home.

After waving to the crowd, the Queen unveiled a plaque at the new £2 million entrance and gateway of the zoo - named the Diamond Jubilee Quarter - before meeting dignitaries.

She was greeted by various dance groups and members of the public, who all applauded as she walked through the new gates. The Queen and the Duke were then taken on a monorail tour of the zoo. They then split up as the Queen was taken to see the rhino paddock while the Duke was taken to see the elephants.

The Queen was greeted by two rhinos who were resting on some hay. She asked the keeper if they were "keeping warm" and was then told about the zoo's breeding programme.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh then visited Orford Jubilee Park in Warrington and were greeted by hundreds of people, young and old, who had turned up to cheer their arrival. The visitors formally opened the £30 million park, which acts as a community centre and includes sports facilities, a library and doctor's surgery.

Crowds stood five-deep around the centre to get a glimpse of the royal visitors, with hundreds of school children excitedly waving their Union flags. The visit included a whirlwind tour of the site's huge sports fields and pitches before the royal visitors were shown a community cabin, hosting a 1950s style street party, complete with the Big Band sounds of Glenn Miller.


From Belfast Telegraph