SLIDESHOW: RETRO - Remembering some right royal visits

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IT’S possible Mary Queen Of Scots would disagree but we live in a region that has long been considered fit for royalty.

Queen Elizabeth II toured Chatsworth House and the Peak District last week - and now to toast the historic trip Midweek Retro remembers right royal visits from yesteryear

HRH Her Majesty the Queen in Sheffield's Peace Gardens during her walkabout  after she officially  opened the Winter Gardens. May 22, 2003.

HRH Her Majesty the Queen in Sheffield's Peace Gardens during her walkabout after she officially opened the Winter Gardens. May 22, 2003.

And there have been plenty of them.

From Queen Victoria becoming the first monarch to see Sheffield in 1897 to Prince Andrew enjoying a cup of tea at The Star’s offices in 2012, it seems anyone within touching distance of the crown has always enjoyed a trip to South Yorkshire and the surroundings shires.

Or anyone, that should perhaps be, except for Mary Queen of Scots. It’s probable she didn’t like her time here so much. The challenger to Queen Elizabeth I’s throne was famously kept prisoner at Sheffield Castle and Manor Lodge before being executed in 1587.

That kind of hospitality definitely effects your opinion of a city.

“Royal visits are a big deal, no doubt about it,” says Chris Hobbs, the retired technician behind, a mammoth local history website. “Throughout history, whenever a monarch comes here you can guarantee one thing - the crowds will be out.”

Our current Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has visited the region more than any of her predecessors, having come to Sheffield nine times during her time on the throne.

But it was her great great grandmother Queen Victoria who was the first ruling monarch to visit the region back in 1897. Although, it has to be said, she didn’t stay too long. Two hours to be exact.

The then 77-year-old Empress was here to officially open the brand new Town Hall as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour. More than a million Sheffielders thronged the streets and thousands of pounds was spent decorating city streets including the building of a temporary arch in Pinstone Street.

And despite the brevity of the visit on May 21 - put down to the fact she was suffering with heart troubles - the monarch still saw plenty. She was whisked by royal carriage from the Train Station up to the Town Hall (which she symbolically opened by turning a key in a box inside her carriage) and then on to Norfolk Park, before leaving from a specially constructed train platfrom at Charles Cammell and Co steel works.

“The excitement generated by the visit was huge,” says 60-year-old Chris, of Crookes. “You’ve got to remember plenty of people viewed Victoria as almost next to God himself.”

It was her only visit but heir Edward VII and wife Queen Alexandra came to open the University on July 12, 1905; while next-in-line George V rocked up three times in just four years during, and immediately after, World War One. Similarly George VI - and wife Queen Elizabeth - came twice during World War Two, once after the Blitz on January 6 1941 and then again the same year on October 29.

The pair also visited the Peak District in September 1945 to open Lady Bower reservoir.

It was October 26, 1954, when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II first came to the region following her coronation.

She visited the English Steel Corporation and, famously, went to Hillsborough where thousands of school children sung On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at to her. Legend has she asked what the song meant. “It’s about being on Ilkley Moor, Ma’am,” came a reply. “Without your hat.”

The visit went down as one of the city’s most successful ever royal appearances - although not everyone was happy. Almost 60 years on, contributors to an online Sheffield history forum note the commemorative pen knives presented to school boys that day broke almost immediately.

She’s been back eight times since then - including her silver jubilee tour in 1977, to open Sheffield Arena in 1991 and to unveil the Winter Garden in 2003. Proving that she’s perhaps an Owl, rather than a Blade she also went to Hillsborough a second time, in 1986, opening the Spion Kop. She’s still to make an appearance at Bramall Lane.

Other notable royal visits? Diana, Princess of Wales, came four times - once to visit victims of the Hillsborough disaster - while Prince Andrew, the Duke Of York visited The Star office in 2012 to toast the newspaper’s 125th anniversary.

It was, he noted, a “special place”.

It is a view, clearly, the Royal Family have long held of the region.