Platinum Jubilee: the Queen in Cornwall

The Queen enjoying The Big Lunch at Eden Project during the G7 summit, Cornwall

The Queen looking radiant enjoying The Big Lunch at The Eden Project during the G7 summit - Credit: Steve Tanner

Queen Elizabeth II is the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee. As Cornwall prepares to honour this landmark event, Chrissy Harris looks at Her Majesty’s close connection to our county.

It was described as a ‘never to be forgotten scene’. More than 2,000 feet of colourful bunting lining the crowd-filled streets that had been scrubbed so clean, ‘one could have eaten a meal from them’. 

Newspaper reports from the Queen’s visit to Liskeard in 1956 give a sense of the anticipation and wonder that surround such a prestigious event. 

Her Majesty has enjoyed many trips to Cornwall during her 70-year-reign, each one helping to shine a light on the people and places that make up this very special part of the world. 

Our monarch seems to feel very at home in the county. A quick look back over the years shows Her Majesty presenting awards at the Royal Cornwall Show in Wadebridge in 2000, inspecting the lifeboats in St Ives in 2013 and joining in with a Big Lunch at the Eden Project during the G7 summit last year. 

The Queen at The Big Lunch at Eden Project during the G7 Summit, Cornwall

The Queen at The Big Lunch at Eden Project during the G7 Summit - Credit: Steve Tanner

Each occasion – just like that early visit to Liskeard in 1956 – has been the result of months of preparation for what is often a once-in-a-lifetime encounter for many people. 

During her Liskeard visit, the Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh made the time to stop and talk to girl guides and Rangers, town and district councillors, and later on at Stoke Climsland, tenants of Duchy farms.  

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Reports from the time say all who met them praised the Queen and the Duke for their ‘dignified informality’ and their readiness to chat in “such an ordinary manner”. 

It’s a feeling shared by many of the people lucky enough to have met Her Majesty over the years. 

‘She makes people feel comfortable and immediately puts you at ease,’ says Chris Riddle, secretary of the Royal Cornwall Show. Chris has met the Queen twice during his role at the event, once when she visited in 1989 and then again in 2000. 

The Queen at the Royal Cornwall Show in 2000

The Queen at the Royal Cornwall Show in 2000 - Credit: Royal Cornwall Show

‘There’s definitely an air of anticipation beforehand and it’s always very special. Cornwall is a particularly loyal county and people here appreciate the Royals’ time and interest,’ he added. Chris, who presented the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh with a special hamper, full of Cornish produce during the couple’s 1989 visit, said it was clear that Her Majesty was very ‘at home’ at events, such as the Royal Cornwall Show. 

‘They are country people at heart,’ says Chris. ‘It’s a natural environment for them to be in.’ 

Queen Elizabeth on her visit in 2000 to the Royal Cornwall Show

The Queen on her visit in 2000 to the Royal Cornwall Show - Credit: Royal Cornwall Show

HRH Queen Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh visit St Michael's Mount 16.05.2013

The Queen’s visit to St Michael’s Mount and west Cornwall - Credit: Simon Burt

In May 2013, the Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh made an historic trip to west Cornwall, visiting St Ives and Marazion, including St Michael’s Mount where they were guests of the St Aubyn family. 

The Queen visits St Michael’s Mount in 2013 Cornwall

The Queen visits St Michael’s Mount in 2013 - Credit: St Aubyn Estates

The Royal visitors enjoyed a trip on the tidal island’s amphibious vehicle, complete with a specially-made gang plank so that the Queen and the Duke could easily step straight off onto dry land. 

HRH Queen Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh visit St Michael's Mount 16.05.2013

The Queen arrives on St Michael’s Mount, via an amphibious vehicle ((pic credit Simon Burt) - Credit: Simon Burt

Lady Mary St Aubyn says the day marked a real historical high point for St Michael’s Mount and the region. 

‘The Queen was able to get a sense of Mount life and our community,’ says Lady St Aubyn, as she explains how the Royal guests enjoyed a visit to the island’s church, a meet and greet with the resident families and a lunch with 70 people from all over Cornwall. The Queen was then taken back down the Mount’s rugged pathway in a golf buggy, apparently remarking on the beautiful views. 

The Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh visited St Michael’s Mount in 2013 as guests of the St Aubyn family

The Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh visited St Michael’s Mount in 2013 where they were guests of the St Aubyn family - Credit: St Aubyn Estates

‘We felt elated afterwards,’ says Lady St Aubyn. ‘We all felt that Her Majesty and Prince Phillip had very much enjoyed their day.’ 

‘The Queen just has this aura about her and this very genuine interest in whoever she meets, which is pretty incredible when you think that she goes to all of these places and sees so many people. 

HRH Queen Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh visit St Michael's Mount 16.05.2013

‘The Queen just has this aura about her and this very genuine interest in whoever she meets,' says Lady St Aubyn - Credit: Simon Burt

‘We felt very touched by her presence and the fact she had taken the time to come and see what we all do.’ 

The Queen visits St Michael’s Mount in 2013, Marazion, Cornwall

The Queen visits St Michael’s Mount in 2013 - Credit: St Aubyn Estates

As they were going to St Ives 

The Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh called in to St Ives during their 2013 visit. 

Thousands of people turned out to greet the Royal couple, who arrived at St Erth railway station in the Diamond Jubilee royal train before heading to St Ives. 

Here they met the town’s RNLI team during a visit to the lifeboat station. 

Queen Elizabeth visits St Ives and meets the RNLI lifeboat crew, Cornwall

The Queen visits St Ives and meets the RNLI lifeboat crew - Credit: Phil Monckton

Rob Cocking, the current RNLI Coxswain at St Ives has been part of the RNLI team in the town since 2003 following a long family tradition on the lifeboats. Rob was the station’s mechanic in 2013 when they welcomed Her Majesty. 

The Queen meeting St Ives volunteer lifeboat crew, RNLI St Ives Cornwall

The Queen meeting St Ives volunteer lifeboat crew - Credit: Phil Monckton

‘It was a huge occasion for all our volunteers and their families to be meeting her and the Duke of Edinburgh,’ says Rob. ‘There was lots of polishing and preparation in the weeks before and a real buzz of excitement around us on the day.  

‘They were with us for about 20 minutes, during which time we showed them round the lifeboats and introduced them to the volunteers. They were extremely interested in everything and it was great to be acknowledged for the time and commitment we all put into the RNLI and our community.’ 

A Special Big Lunch

Cornwall certainly knows how to put on a right royal show – expertly demonstrated only last year. The Queen and joined The Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge to enjoy a Big Lunch at the Eden Project during the G7 summit, when the eyes of the world were on our county. 

The Queen cuts The Big Lunch cake at Eden Project during G7 summit Cornwall

The Queen cuts The Big Lunch cake at Eden Project during G7 summit - Credit: Steve Tanner

The Queen drew plenty of smiles and admiring glances as she cut a specially-made cake, using a sword, borrowed from Cornwall’s Lord-Lieutenant, Edward Bolitho. 

Peter Stewart MVO Executive Board Director at Eden says the rather surreal moment gave a real insight into the monarch’s good humour. 

‘She asked me: do you think I should do it? And I replied: Your Majesty, I can’t possibly really advise you on that..’ says Peter, adding how proud he is to have been able to host such an important event after the Queen had met world leaders at the G7 summit. 

‘She had only met the President of the United States, half an hour before she came to us,’ says Peter. ‘What she does - and what is incredible – is that she gives everyone the same amount of respect and attention. She makes you feel so at ease.’ 

Celebrations in Cornwall

Our county is preparing to party in style in honour of Her Majesty’s historic 70-year reign.  

Communities up and down the region will come together for street parties, barbecues, picnics and fetes over the course of the special extended bank holiday weekend, from Thursday 2 to Sunday 5 June. 

To launch the weekend’s events, dozens of beacons will be lit by communities, charities and groups across the county. 

In Tregunnel Hill, Newquay, the whole estate, built on Duchy of Cornwall land, is getting together for a celebration on June 6. There will be games, fancy dress, crown making, a barbecue and more. Organisers say they want to make it a ‘memorable day.' 

The Rotary Club of Bodmin is organising a Platinum Jubilee classic car run with 70 cars, travelling 70 miles from Bodmin to Penzance. 

The Big Jubilee Lunch, an idea from the Eden Project will be part of HM The Queen’s official celebrations. 

From June 2-5 this year and throughout the Month of Community, people everywhere will be invited to throw open their doors, to meet and chat over food, celebrating what matters to them most where they live. 

The Big Lunch is made possible by The National Lottery and sponsored by Iceland and The Food Warehouse, PG tips, Nextdoor social media network and Pears Foundation.

You can find our round-up of Jubilee events around Cornwall here.

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