Queen and Prince Philip celebrate restoration of Cutty Sark in Greenwich

17:32 25 April 2012

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh listen to a performance of the specially composed Diamond Greenwich performed by school children and Trinity Laban music students  during a visit to the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, London.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh listen to a performance of the specially composed Diamond Greenwich performed by school children and Trinity Laban music students during a visit to the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, London.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Despite the heavens opening today the rain stopped as the Queen and Prince Philip arrived in Greenwich for a day of nautical inspired celebrations.

The pair listened to the premiere of a specially composed piece of music Diamond Greenwich which celebrates the Queen’s Jubilee and the creation of the Royal borough of Greenwich.

Children holding umbrellas listened to the choir of children from ten schools and the Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra perform the piece composed by Greenwich resident Errollyn Warren.

The orchestra had just one week to rehearse and violinist Medina Mekhtieva from Victoria said: “it was nerve racking to play for the Queen and Prince Philip but it was enjoyable. Even in the cold it was a great experience.

Watched by invited guests including Stephen Lawrence’s mother Doreen who has been granted freedom of the borough Prince Philip too was given this special honour in recognition of the links he has with the Cutty Sark and Royal Naval College.

Sailors had climbed the rigging of the Cutty Sark despite the heavy rain for a special welcome to the royal couple.

“He was very concerned that people were up there in quite difficult conditions,” said Richard Doughty, director of the Cutty Sark Trust who showed the couple around the decks of the newly restored ship.

It has taken six years, with an interruption after a fire in 2007, to complete the £50 million restoration project.

Mr Doughty said: “The Queen was very animated and asked a lot of questions. She was intrigued to see the difference between the original material and the new steel work that we put in.”

The ship was originally built as a cargo ship in 1869 and carried tea.

Mr Doughty added: “The thing that seemed to amuse the Queen was the fact that the ship carried enough tea in a single journey to make more than 200 million cups of tea.”

The Queen and Prince Philip took time to look at a plaque on the floor marking the role of merchant sailors.

He said: “Prince Philip reminded me of that and he was pleased the plaque was in its proper place as that was one of the reasons the Cutty Sark came to us here in Greenwich in the 1950s.”

Christopher Nash, a partner at Grimshaw Architects was introduced to the Queen as the man who came up with the idea of raising the ship 11 feet in the air (3.3 m) revealing the hull and allowing visitors to walk underneath the ship.

The Highgate resident said: “We are delighted that we have come to this point in the work and it’s been a great honour to work on this project.”

Sir Nicholas Grimshaw added: “The fact that the Queen was coming gives people a target , which is incredibly valuable.”

The Queen reopened the ship, which she first opened to the public in 1957 and the royal couple were given a send off of three cheers.

The Queen and Prince Philip also visited the National Maritime Museum which celebrates its 75th birthday this year.

Queen Elizabeth opened the Royal River exhibition which celebrates the river’s role in royal pageantry and was shown round by guest curator David Starkey.

*See this week’s Bexley Times for more pictures and royal wellwishers from Bexley

Latest Stories

Fri, 18:38
In order to get your hands on the free crisps, you'll have to tweet a special code and contend with an animated Gary Lineker (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images for Walkers)

Londoners are set to get free crisps at three bus stops for the next two weeks!

Read more
Fri, 16:53
Dojo gives you hand picked recommendations for events, places and activities in London

Tired of always hearing about some amazing event in London after its gone, missing out on the best activities? That’s where Dojo comes in.

Read more
Fri, 15:14
Police were called to the house of Sam Taylor Wood, seen here with husband Aaron Taylor Johnson at the European premiere of 'Godzilla' in Leicester Square in May, after the machine gun was spotted through a window  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Sam Taylor-Johnson got a visit from the firearms squad last night after a spotter-by noticed a machine gun in her house and called the police.

Read more

Quirky London

Quizzes

Amy Winehouse's second album became a classic

Are you an Amy Winehouse superfan?

Read more
I'm only going to say this once: Stand. On. The. Right.

James Bond is Britain’s most famous secret agent, and the capital is its most famous city, so it makes sense that 007 would live and work here when he isn’t gallivanting around the world.

Read more
Can you find the animals hiding in London station names? (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

You may not realise it but there are animals hiding in stations across London? Play our quiz and see if you can you find them:

Read more