The King and The Queen Consort spent the day in Colchester to celebrate its recently awarded city with local communities
The say started at Colchester Castle, where Their Majesties celebrated Colchester’s recently awarded city status with community groups, volunteers, local businesses, conservation projects and arts organisations.
Colchester officially became a city in November 2022, having been awarded the status during Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebration
In the Castle Park, The King and The Queen Consort met those who took part in Colchester’s city status procession last year, including charities, volunteers and refugees who have settled in Colchester.
Inside the Castle at a reception, Their Majesties met representatives from organisations including Essex Native Oyster Restoration Initiative; Firstsite, a contemporary art gallery which provides free hot meals to local low-income children and their families; and Next Chapter, a domestic abuse charity supporting survivors in the local area.
The visit finished by meeting the Animal Care Team from Colchester Zoo to hear about their conservation work, and The King and The Queen Consort revealed the chosen name for the Zoo’s newest addition, a baby white rhino named Dara.
At Colchester Library, The King and The Queen Consort joined Age UK for an afternoon tea with local volunteers, service users and The Silver Line staff to hear about the support provided by the Charity across the region, and its positive impact on older people.
As Prince of Wales, His Majesty become Patron of Age UK in in 2010, which provides information, support, friendship and advice for older people in need.
As Duchess of Cornwall, The Queen Consort became Patron of The Silver Line in 2017. The free and confidential helpline is available day and night for any older person to call if they need information, reassurance or comfort.
Whilst at the library, The Queen Consort also joined a gathering of local authors, children, supporters and volunteers in the Library’s ‘Literacy Corner’ to celebrate the Essex Year of Reading.
The countywide campaign was established to help children and young people discover a lifelong love of reading, and help to ensure every Essex child is able to read at their age level or above.
Her Majesty was welcomed to the Literary Corner by characters Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Hatter, played by actors from the local Mercury Theatre. The Mercury Theatre works closely with the library to organise readings of popular children’s books, to bring the literature to life.
The Queen Consort was joined in the literary corner by broadcaster and children’s author Dermot O’Leary, who is local to Colchester and a keen supporter of the Essex Year of Reading, as well as local author Frank Cottrell-Boyce.