Exeter crowds greet the Queen

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Media captionThe Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are met by crowds of well-wishers in Exeter as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh have visited Exeter where they were met by crowds of well-wishers.

Queues of people formed at Princesshay shopping centre to see the Queen before she opened the University of Exeter's new £48m Forum development.

She came to Exeter as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour.

The Queen retraced her steps from 63 years ago when she saw the rebuilding of Exeter after parts of the city were destroyed in World War II raids.

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Media captionUniversity chefs face one of their biggest challenges - making lunch for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh

At Princesshay she met a group of local residents who, as children, witnessed the visit of Princess Elizabeth to inaugurate the post-war Princesshay development in 1949.

She described the attacks on Exeter at the time as "surely the most senseless and unwarranted air raids that ever took place".

The royal couple also saw an exhibition depicting Princesshay's regeneration and a display of photographs of the Queen's previous visits to the city.

Later, they travelled to Exeter University where the Queen unveiled a plaque to officially open the Forum development.

The Forum includes a new student services centre, a refurbished library, new learning spaces, a 400-seat lecture theatre, retail and catering outlets, a landscaped piazza and a new university reception.

It is part of a £350m development programme across the university's campuses in Exeter and Cornwall.

University chancellor Baroness Benjamin, a former children's TV presenter, welcomed the royal couple to the campus.

'Great joy'

She said: "Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, may I, on behalf of the university, thank you both for your 60 years of loyal service to the nation and to the Commonwealth.

Image caption The Queen receives a posy as she leaves the University of Exeter

"Both Your Majesty and Your Royal Highness were with us in 1956 at the very foundation of this university.

"You celebrated our 40th anniversary with us and just a few years ago you visited our Cornwall campus.

"So it is with great joy in our hearts we welcome you back to open our Forum and so begin the next chapter of our history."

About 270 guests, including special "unsung heroes" from Devon and Cornwall, joined the Queen and Prince Philip for lunch to mark the end of their two-day tour of the region.

Sarah Snow, assistant director of campus services tweeted : "Very proud of the amazing team of staff all working so hard to make today special for the Queen, students & guests."

Dragons' Den judge Deborah Meaden tweeted : "Just seen our wonderful Queen at Exeter Uni. Very Special."

Devon singer Adam Isaac, a contestant on BBC TV's The Voice, sang for the crowd as the Queen and Prince Philip toured Princesshay.

He said: "It's a great honour. It's nice to come back to Exeter after having been in London for a few weeks."

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