Diamond Jubilee: Thousand cheer on royal couple in Tyne and Wear
Thousands of people across Tyne and Wear took to the streets to welcome The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.
A Vulcan bomber, first flown in 1952, the year Elizabeth became Queen, flew over their yacht before they disembarked in the Port of Sunderland.
The couple also visited Newcastle city centre, South Tyneside and North Tyneside, where the Queen officially opened the new Tyne Tunnel.
They then met hundreds of children at a jamboree at Gateshead Stadium.
In Jarrow, at the south end of the Tyne Tunnel, the Queen planted a tree, spoke to those who had worked on the massive construction project and started a wheelchair race through it.
Moving on to the north end, she said that she was delighted to return 45 years after opening the first road tunnel.
At the scene
After celebrating Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee from afar, the North East was having a party and this time the Queen was invited.
At Gateshead Stadium the stands were filled with excited children.
Even the occasional burst of rain could not dampen spirits as they waved flags while waiting.
Blue skies and deafening screams welcomed the Queen and Prince Philip as they travelled around the race track before sitting down on makeshift thrones.
The band played and children sang a specially-commissioned Diamond Jubilee song.
The royal couple greeted local dignitaries then, still waving to the gathered masses, left in the royal car for Durham.
She said the latest project, which took four years and opened to vehicles last November, had given "a better quality of life to residents, businesses and commuters".
"Time once lost to traffic jams can now be spent with family and friends," she said.
"Now the project is complete, I would like to congratulate all those who have played a part.
"You can all be proud of a job well done."
Before leaving Sunderland, the royal couple viewed an exhibition celebrating the past 60 years of Wearside history, and met seven couples celebrating their diamond wedding anniversaries at a 1950s style coronation party.
Councillor Paul Watson, Port of Sunderland chairman, said he was delighted that Her Majesty had chosen Sunderland to begin her Diamond Jubilee tour of the North East.
Mr Watson said: "The city has changed immeasurably since The Queen's Coronation in 1953, and we've tried to capture the essence of each of the seven decades of The Queen's reign in this exhibition."
The couple met dignitaries including athletics star Steve Cram.
He said afterwards: "I was talking to someone who is around 19 or 20 last night and what is so nice is that she was really excited when I told her I was going to see the Queen.
"It's testimony to what she still means to people."
At Gateshead International Stadium they were greeted by a crowd of more than 8,000 schoolchildren.
Afterwards, Chris Strong, sport, lifestyle and health development manager with Gateshead Council, said: "It was a proud, amazing moment which all of us will remember for a long time."
The couple then travelled to Durham Castle for a lunch of locally-sourced roast beef.
In the afternoon they will move on to Teesside.
A special programme documenting the visit will be shown on BBC One on Sunday 22 July at 12:05 BST.