The Queen at Sheffield Wednesday – When Her Majesty visited Hillsborough for a historic occasion
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The United Kingdom is in the midst of 10 days of public mourning following the death of Her Majesty on Thursday, but while the nation mourns there are also thousands of stories being told that recall her long and memorable life.
Visiting Sheffield is something that The Queen has done on numerous occasions over the years – for example making the trip to visit the University of Sheffield in both 1956 and 2010 – but for Wednesdayites it will have been her trip to their spiritual home that is no doubt remembered most fondly.
On December 12th in 1986, the sovereign travelled to Wednesday’s famous ground to celebrate the opening of the brand new covered Kop which upgraded the capacity from 16,850 people to 22,000 – which was the largest in Europe at the time.
She was all smiles as she sat alongside Owl chairman, Bert McGee, following her arrival at 2.30pm. The City of Sheffield Girls Choir sang Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Mary Had A Baby and Mistletoe Carol a few moments later, and at 2.45pm she drove around the stadium before unveiling the plaque to commemorate the opening of the new stand.
Over 17,000 were on the Kop for the first match the following week as the Owls beat Newcastle United 2-0.
Her 1986 visit was not the first time that Her Majesty had graced Hillsborough’s halls though, with a trip to S6 some 30 years earlier in 1954 – for the Children’s Display – seeing over 40,000 school kids attend, while another 3,000 children took part in the display itself.
The Queen and her husband, Prince Phillip, did a lap of the stadium and also watched thousands of youngsters forma British flag on the hallowed turf – something that was described as ‘perhaps the most memorable scene during her visit to Yorkshire’.
Her Majesty and her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, last made the trip to Sheffield when they both attended the Royal Maundy Service at Sheffield Cathedral on April 2nd 2015.