King Charles in Doncaster: Cheers as jubiliant crowds greet His Majesty on city status visit

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King Charles has been met with huge crowds and cheers as he visited Doncaster to bestow city status.

The King and Queen Consort were greeted with colourful scenes of jubilation as they arrived at the Mansion House this lunchtime for the ceremony following Doncaster being granted city status by his later mother Queen Elizabeth II as part of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

And the Royal couple surprised those waiting to see them with an impromptu walkabout where they were met by hundreds of flag-waving and excited youngsters who greeted the couple with cheers and huge smiles.

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There were cries of ‘God Save The King’ and 'welcome to Doncaster, your Majesty’ as the couple laughed and joked with residents. There were also cries of ‘save our airport’ from some of the crowd as talks to save Doncaster Sheffield Airport go on.

King Charles is met by jubilant crowds outside the Mansion House.King Charles is met by jubilant crowds outside the Mansion House.
King Charles is met by jubilant crowds outside the Mansion House.

There was even an appearance from South Yorkshire television star, Paul Chuckle of comedy duo the Chuckle Brothers, who was among those waiting to catch a glimpse of His and Her Majesty.

The pair then entered the Mansion House where they were met by Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones as well as Civic Mayor Coun Ian Pearson and junior civic mayor, nine-year-old Eva Shaw-Lewis.

Also there to greet the Royal couple were Doncaster’s three MPs, Dame Rosie Winterton (Doncaster Central), Ed Miliband (Doncaster North) and Nick Fletcher (Don Valley).

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A crowd of dignitaries and special guests crammed into the Mansion House’s historic ballroom to see the King officially bestow city status and deliver a brief speech where he spoke about Doncaster's railway and mining heritage, its Roman background - and of course, its horse racing links, to chuckles from the crowd.

Dressed in a grey pinstripe suit, the King and Queen Consort then met with a number of local community groups, the Royal pair again taking time to stop and chat to those waiting to meet them and asking questions to members of a number of volunteers from groups including Austerfield Study Centre, the Northern Racing College and Friends of Sandall Park.

Also there to meet the King was Doncaster Afghanistan war hero Ben Parkinson, who had earlier been met with huge cheers from the crowd as he arrived in his wheelchair at the front of the Mansion House.

The pair shared a joke and warmly shook hands as the King spent a few moments chatting with Ben.

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The King and Queen Consort were also introduced to students from Doncaster College’s catering department who whipped up a sumptuous buffet which included free range egg and watercress sandwiches, Yorkshire ham and Doncaster ale chutney sandwiches, Danum Gin bramble trifle and Yorkshire curd tart while local cellist Stephen Donaghue entertained guests with orchestral versions of songs such as Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and Angels by Robbie Williams.

The visit, which lasted just over an hour, then saw the couple sign Doncaster Council’s visitors book – and where they were presented with gifts including jars of local honey with Civic Mayor Ian Pearson telling the King: “We hope you’ll enjoy having this with your breakfast.”

The couple were also presented with a stuffed toy Paddington bear. The first versions of the much-loved children’s visit were made in Doncaster in the 1970s by Shirley Clarkson, the late mother of Doncaster TV star Jeremy Clarkson – and have become closely associated with the Royal family following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

The late Queen starred in a sketch with Paddington as part of her Platinum Jubilee Celebrations earlier this year, and many of the stuffed toys were left outside Buckingham Palace and at Balmoral following her death.

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The engagement, the last on a two day tour of Yorkshire, came to an end with the Royal couple exiting the Mansion House once again to huge cheers before they made their way along High Street and Hall Gate before leaving the newly proclaimed city.

Rebecca Smith, seven, who was among those in the crowd said: “It was brilliant seeing the King so close. It has been a really exciting day and it makes me happy that he came to make Doncaster a city.”

Further coverage of The King’s visit to Doncaster to come online and in the print edition of the Doncaster Free Press