Marking 50 years since 'canny lass' Princess Anne opened The Galleries in Washington

Princess Anne chatted to shoppers who waited patiently to meet her
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How time flies.

It is 50 years since thousands of people lined the route from Sunderland Airport to Washington to give an enthusiastic welcome to Princess Anne, who was making her first visit.

She's a 'canny lass' according to the locals

She was in town in 1974 to officially open The Galleries, the new shopping centre serving the New Town.

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And for those who waited at The Galleries, there was the additional thrill of chatting with the princess.

The princess shared a chat and a laugh with these porters in The Galleries.The princess shared a chat and a laugh with these porters in The Galleries.
The princess shared a chat and a laugh with these porters in The Galleries.

Despite security there was plenty of room for the informality.

A walkabout in the central park

The Princess was pronounced “a canny lass” by several shoppers in the crowd.

Permanent reminders of her visit soon appeared in Washington.

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One was the plaque unveiled by the Princess at The Galleries, and another was the central park in Washington, which was to be known as the Princess Anne Park.

Princess Anne in Washington in 1974.Princess Anne in Washington in 1974.
Princess Anne in Washington in 1974.

Tell us if you were there

News of the new name for the park came in a surprise announcement by the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, at the luncheon in Washington Old Hall which followed the town centre visit.

After unveiling the plaque, the Royal party walked past the Woolco building and cross the footbridge to the sports centre.

Staff from Woolco chat to the princess in 1974.Staff from Woolco chat to the princess in 1974.
Staff from Woolco chat to the princess in 1974.

The manager conducted the Princess through the building.

Tell us if you were there that day and whether you got to chat to the princess.

You might recognise the little lad who watched in front of the barriers as she walked past.