Duchess of Cornwall visits St Albans

PUBLISHED: 11:29 27 January 2006 | UPDATED: 20:19 03 May 2010

Camilla meets the crowds

Camilla meets the crowds

PEALS of bells and scores of children greeted the Duchess of Cornwall for her first official visit to St Albans yesterday (Thursday). The Duchess — formerly Camilla Parker Bowles — spent nearly 90 minutes touring the building to see the restoration work a

Inside the Abbey

PEALS of bells and scores of children greeted the Duchess of Cornwall for her first official visit to St Albans yesterday (Thursday).

The Duchess - formerly Camilla Parker Bowles - spent nearly 90 minutes touring the building to see the restoration work and to she also met members of the Fraternity of Friends.

On a cold but dry and sunny day, she wore a brown tartan jacket with a dark green skirt and calf-length brown boots.

The Duchess got a chance to speak to children who were spending a day with the Abbey Education Trust. She also met Andrew Lucas, Master of the Abbey Music, and chatted to each of the 24 choir boys.

The Duchess arrived at the Abbey from an earlier visit to the Royal Veterinary College at North Mymms and was greeted in Sumpter Yard by pupils from Abbey Primary School.

She also met the Mayor of St Albans, Cllr Malcolm Macmillan and the Dean of St Albans, Very Rev Jeffery John, who escorted her into the cathedral.

The Duchess visited the Shrine of St Albans before being introduced to Abbey Clerk of Works George Laverick, who showed her stone cleaning work in the Lady Chapel - part of a £250,000 restoration and improvement scheme.

As she left, the Abbey's recently-restored carillon was playing a hymn tune on the bells.

The visit by the Duchess, who married Prince Charles in April last year, came more than 16 years after Diana, the former Princess of Wales, unveiled the newly-glazed Rose Window at the Abbey. That was in September 1989 and in the previous year Diana had also been in St Albans - that time to open the new Maltings shopping centre.

The Queen Mother, Charles' grandmother, who died in 2002 aged 101, was a frequent visitor to St Albans and in 1961 received the Freedom of the City of St Albans.

The present Queen came to St Albans Abbey in 1958 to distribute Maundy Money to the old people of the parish - the first time since the 17th century that the traditional ceremony had been held by the monarch outside London.

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