Leeds & West Yorkshire

Queen visits Leeds on Diamond Jubilee tour

Thousands of people gathered in Leeds to welcome the Queen as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour of the UK.

Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, the tour began at Leeds Arena before a visit to the renovated City Varieties.

The royal couple then took part in a walkabout on Briggate where crowds of people had lined the street.

Aleesha Cantrell, nine, who read a poem during a performance at the arena, said: "The Queen looked really nice but I though she would be talller."

During the walkabout, the Duke of Edinburgh surprised a number of children who wanted to give flowers to the Queen by asking his protection officers to lift them over the barrier and escort them to meet her.

Junior Frood, eight, from Meanwood, was the first to helped over the barrier.

'Huge fan'

His mother Kerry Frood said: "He just absolutely loves the Royal Family.

"He was up all night because he wanted to give a letter to the Queen.

"It says 'thank you for looking after our country and I look forward to coming to Buckingham Palace in the summer'."

Luke Smith, 24, said: "I'm such a huge fan of the Queen.

"I spoke to the Prince and he just said 'why don't you give them to the Queen yourself.' So they let me climb over. It was fantastic."

At the arena, the royal couple watched an aerial acrobatic display and musical performances by school children.

They met builders and apprentices who have worked on the project before unveiling a plaque to top out the £60m venue, which is currently under construction.

Joshua Wilkinson, 18, a general construction apprentice from Leeds, said: "It was nice to meet her. I expected to be really nervous around her but she makes you feel really calm.

"It's something I'll always remember."

Mayor of Leeds Ann Castle said: "We are very pleased to be able to demonstrate to them what a marvellous city Leeds is and how wonderful its people are."

After Leeds, the royal couple went on to Saltaire near Bradford where they were guests of technology company Pace.

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