Queen visits Leeds on Diamond Jubilee tour

Students from Little London Community Primary put on a concert for the royal couple at Leeds Arena

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.

At the scene

Charlotte Leeming, BBC Look North

People of all ages had queued for hours. But the Queen hasn't been to Leeds for 10 years so this was a big deal.

After weeks of rain the sun was shining which just added to a festival atmosphere.

Briggate is normally one of Leeds' main shopping areas but for a few hours at least the cash registers were unusually quiet.

The crowds were in good spirits, and when the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh appeared they went wild.

The Queen smiled and chatted happily to well-wishers.

Luke Smith, 24, couldn't believe his luck when the Duke picked him out of the crowd to present his bouquet to the Queen. He scaled the barrier and handed the flowers over - he said it was the best day of his life.

So the people of Leeds made sure the Queen got a Yorkshire welcome. Moments after she left the crowd dispersed and the barriers were taken away, but you still had a sense that something very special had happened here.

"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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