Berkshire

Windsor's Qatari state visit preparations under way

The State of Qatar Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani's trip is the eighth state visit to Windsor since 1998

Preparations for a state visit by the The State of Qatar Emir to see The Queen in Windsor are under way.

A rehearsal for Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani's visit takes place on Friday ahead of the 26 October event.

The Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and other local dignitaries will greet the emir before a carriage procession takes them through the town to Windsor Castle.

A council and police booklet will be sent out to residents and businesses, detailing the route and road closures.

It will also set out parking information and where to watch the procession, which is the eighth state visit to be held in the town since 1998.

Road closures will be in place from 0845 to 1500 BST for Friday's rehearsal and between 0945 and 1500 BST during the actual event.

Most car parks will be open as normal, with the exception of River Street, Home Park and part of King Edward VII (Datchet Road), which will only be accessible from the Datchet direction.

Businesses will be open as usual.

Household Cavalry escort

More than 90 flagpoles will be installed along the route, decorated with both the Union and Qatari flags.

The Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, Mrs Mary Bayliss, Mayor of the Royal Borough councillor Catherine Bursnall, Windsor's MP Adam Afiyie, Thames Valley Police Chief Constabale Sara Thornton and the council's chief executive, Ian Trenholm, will all greet the emir along with The Queen.

A sovereign escort of the Household Cavalry will escort the horse-drawn carriage procession to Windsor Castle.

The entire route will be lines with Army representatives.

Ian Hunt, who is co-ordinating the event, said: "Our aim is to manage these high profile occasions so that they can be enjoyed by everyone while ensuring that the town centre can function as normally as possible."

The last state visit to the town saw President of India Pratibha Patil visit with her husband in October 2009.

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