WEARSIDERS turned out in their thousands on May 7, 2002, to welcome the Queen in her Golden Jubilee year.
Sunderland was the first stop on a whirlwind national tour to mark Her Majesty’s 50th year on the throne, with the Royal couple arriving at the city’s central station just after 10am.
“Cheering crowds lined the streets as the Royal couple made their way to the Museum and Winter Gardens,” reported the Echo.
“On her way in to the multi-million pound attraction, the Queen stopped to admire a selection of Royal portraits by Echo readers and met the winner of our junior contest, David Lowther.”
David, 14, later admitted: “I was very nervous, but she was very nice. I thought she would have been a lot more formal than she was.”
After unveiling a plaque to officially open the new Winter Gardens, the Queen, dressed in an aquamarine coat and brown hat, went on a walkabout in Mowbray Park. Margaret Angus, 67, from Lakeside Village, was one of 3,500 lucky Wearsiders to win tickets to the event and said: “She was lovely. She was just what I expected.”
It was Durham’s turn for a Royal visit the next day, when the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh lunched at Durham Castle with Sir Peter Ustinov before a walkabout in the city centre.
“The Royal couple were treated to a rousing cheer as they alighted from their limousine in Saddler Street. Crowds lined both sides of the Market Place,” reported the Echo.
The visit was rounded off with a tour of Durham’s Millennium City and Gala Theatre development, where the Queen unveiled a plaque.
“Several hundred people waited outside to give the Royal party another rousing cheer before their car headed up Claypath and out of Durham City,” added the Echo.