"I remember it clearly - the day I met Princess Elizabeth in York in 1949"

·3-min read
Jacqueline Reagan who met the Queen in 1949 when she was Princess Elizabeth on a royal visit to York
Jacqueline Reagan who met the Queen in 1949 when she was Princess Elizabeth on a royal visit to York

The Queen's first visit to York took place in 1949 - before her coronation, when she was still Princess Elizabeth.

On July 28, 1949, a young Princess Elizabeth and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, visited York at the end of a triumphant Royal Tour of Yorkshire.

It was a busy day for the royals - they arrived at the Minster at 11.30am, where they were met by the Lord Lieutenant of York, the Earl of Scarborough, and were presented to the Lord Mayor, JB Morrell.

After inspecting a guard of honour and looking around the Minster, the princess and her husband went to St William’s College, then walked through Minster Gates and Stonegate to St Helen’s Square.

After meeting dignitaries at the Mansion House, the young princess was driven to Regent Street, off Lawrence Street, to visit some pre-fabricated houses.

The royal couple concluded their visit with a trip to the Carr estate in Acomb, where they called on three families. At Jute Road, they met a Mr and Mrs John Radford, and their three children; at Ostman Road they called on Mr and Mrs Leonard Ernest Turner; and at Danebury Drive they popped in to see Mr and Mrs Edward Leslie Mardell.

Jacqueline Reagan (nee Pritchard), 77, from Strensall, was a four year old girl at the time - and recalls presenting a bouquet to the Princess as she arrived at Jute Road.

Jacqueline lived in Dane Avenue at the time of the visit and attended Carr Infants school, Acomb. She and fellow pupil Derek Lacy had been chosen to present flowers to the Princess.

Newspaper cuttings of the time show the children practising their curtsying and bowing - and waving to the royal couple.

Ahead of this year's Jubilee celebrations, Jacqueline recalled the special moment. "I remember holding my mum's hand and skipping down the street. I could hear everyone cheering and shouting all over the Carr estate.


York Press: Newspaper story of the time
York Press: Newspaper story of the time

Newspaper story of the time

"I wore a white dress with rosebuds on it. I remember it very clearly.

"When people ask: 'who is the most famous person you have ever met?' I always answer: 'The Queen!'"

The princess and the duke visited York as part of a three-day tour which had taken in a number of Yorkshire towns and cities, and included a visit to the Great Yorkshire Show – the first to have been held since 1939 – at Wakefield.

The trip to York took place on the last day of the tour.

Every moment of the day was followed by newspaper reporters.

At Regent Street, off Lawrence Street, the royals visited families living in some pre-fabricated houses.

York Press: Princess Elizabeth on her visit to York in 1949
York Press: Princess Elizabeth on her visit to York in 1949

Princess Elizabeth on her visit to York in 1949

The residents had been preparing to welcome the Royal couple for several days, reported the following day’s Yorkshire Herald. “Houses had been cleaned from top to bottom, just in case the Princess and her husband ‘dropped in’.” They did exactly that, visiting a Mr and Mrs Frank Henry Cox at no 15.

Over in Acomb, the royal couple were shown around the Radfords’ three-bedroomed home by Mr Radford, the Herald reported.

He later informed the newspaper that she “had shown great interest in the bathroom and detached washhouse”.

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