The Queen is to make a return visit to Lancaster after 16 years, having last visited in 1999. For many cities across the UK this would not be a terribly unusual, as Royal visits from The Queen can be few and far between as she slows down her workload, having just turned 89.
On 29th May, Her Majesty will pay a visit to Lancaster Castle, though details of the visit have not yet been released. A local spotted a Royal Bentley driving up to Lancaster Castle, indicating plans are being made. A spokeswoman said: “It’s expected that she will visit, but more detail will be released by Buckingham Palace two weeks before the event.”
The Queen owns the Duchy of Lancaster, which provides her with a personal income, and so has strong ties to the area, making her absence more surprising. The Duchy is held in trust for the Sovereign, and The Prince of Wales will inherit this when he ascends the throne. Due to her role, The Queen is known as The Duke of Lancaster in the county town, and locals sing ‘God save The Duke’ instead of the traditional national anthem!
The Duchy of Lancaster was began in the 13th century and today is comprised of 18,454 hectares in England and Wales. The Duke of Lancaster last made an appearance in 1999 at Lancaster Priory; she then unveiled an Eric Morecambe statue in Morecambe. Charles last visited in 1993.
Lancaster Castle, owned by The Duchy of Lancaster, was closed in 2011, having served as a prison. It opened its courtyard for the first time in its history in 2013 and has since held markets, festivals and other events for the public.