She’s been our monarch for six decades and has travelled the world many times over – but the Queen rarely received a warmer welcome than from the people of Crawley.
Her first visit took place in 1950 when she was Princess Elizabeth. Who would have thought that 65 years later she would not only be the oldest monarch in British history but the longest-serving?
As of Wednesday (September 9), Queen Elizabeth II will have ruled for 63 years and 216 days, beating the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.
She is clearly a woman who took the words “long to reign over us” seriously.
After ascending the throne, her first visit to Crawley as Queen came on June 9 1958, when she officially opened the revamped and extended Gatwick Airport. She then headed into Crawley where she planted a tree as she opened the newly completed Queens Square.
It was 11 years before the Queen returned to Crawley. On December 17 1969, she officially opened Holy Trinity School – although lessons had been running there since 1967 – and visited the town hall.
Her latest visit was on November 3 2006 when Queens Square was packed with cheering well-wishers as she met local dignitaries before heading off to Thomas Bennett Community College.
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