Oh baby! Queen plugs into new generation
Now we know how the Queen stays young ... she surrounds herself with the young generation. Really young.
An estimated 7,000 people crunched into the downtown square, many of them schoolchildren waving their Union Jacks. They were brought in via busses from 24 area schools.
Then it was off to Lister Hospital, which was first officially opened by the Queen's mother 40 years ago.
This time around, the Queen, wearing a lilac coat and hat, was officially opening the new $26-million Diamond Jubilee maternity unit. Naturally, plenty of babies were on hand for the walkthrough, though they probably did not appreciate the significance of the moment.
Later, the Queen planted a tree at Hatfield House, which was once home to Queen Elizabeth I, where she will plant a tree.
The non-stop Queen seems determined to be as visible as possible to the public during her Diamond Jubilee year. The one drawback this week has been the absence of Prince Philip, recovering from a bladder infection. It's not known when the 91-year-old Duke will resume his usual spot beside the Queen, though he is pencilled in to attend the service for the Order of the Garter at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle on Tuesday.
The salutes to Her Majesty will continue Saturday for the annual Trooping of the Colour, the royal spectacle at Buckingham Palace that marks the monarch's birthday (though her actual birthday is April 21).
School children were out in full force for the visit of Queen Elizabeth at Market Square in Hitchin on Thursday. (Craig Shepheard/Demotix)