Young princess who took Portsmouth and its people to heart

Princess Elizabeth makes her Portsmouth debut - on the steps of the Guildhall in 1937 with the King and Queen
Princess Elizabeth makes her Portsmouth debut - on the steps of the Guildhall in 1937 with the King and Queen
Graeme Clark of Wet Wet Wet

Popped in, Souled Out and going strong 30 years on

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A happy little girl of 11, daintily dressed in salmon pink, got off the train at Cosham station and drove with her parents through the flags and streamers of a cheering Portsmouth to the Guildhall.

A woman in the crowd thrust a single spray of lilies of the valley into the girl’s hands when she stood proudly beside her father on the Guildhall steps as he was presented with a special gift.

The front page of The Evening News, April 21, 1926

The front page of The Evening News, April 21, 1926

It was an illuminated address of congratulations from the city to mark the coronation of the man, the newly-crowned King George VI. The small girl was Princess Elizabeth, catching her first glimpse of Portsmouth on the way to the Coronation Review of the Fleet at Spithead.

The May-time visit was in 1937. During the next 79 years the princess would become Queen and Portsmouth would come to hold a special place in her affections.

Today, to mark her 90th birthday, we look back at how The Evening News reported the birth of the girl who, but for her uncle’s abdication, was never destined to become Queen. We also take a look at what else appeared in the columns of this newspaper on that April day in 1926.

News of Princess Elizabeth’s birth appeared in a single column under the headline: A Royal Baby.

The Queen near Crasswell Street, Landport, during her Silver Jubilee walkabout in Portsmouth, June 1977

The Queen near Crasswell Street, Landport, during her Silver Jubilee walkabout in Portsmouth, June 1977

The opening line read ‘London, Wednesday. Her Royal Highness the Duchess of York was safely delivered of a princess at 2.40 this morning. Both the mother and daughter are doing well.’

A further bulletin reported: ‘The Duchess of York has had some rest since the arrival of her daughter. Her Royal Highness and that infant Princess are making very satisfactory progress.’

There was an article on Page 7 about the ‘famous hotel’, The Old Star and Garter in Broad Street, Old Portsmouth, which examined the attempts being made to save it from closure on the grounds of ‘redundancy’.

The front page was dominated by an advertisement proclaiming ‘Artifical Silk Week in our Costume Showroom’ which advertised a jumper suit and pleated skirt for four guineas (£4.20).

The Queen at Cowes in 1968 with (The Bristish Hovercraft Corporation in the background

The Queen at Cowes in 1968 with (The Bristish Hovercraft Corporation in the background

Another advertised a four-day ‘Electric Cooking Demonstration’ in the electricity showroom in Town Hall Square.

The Queen pats Agreement at Goodwood in the 1960s

The Queen pats Agreement at Goodwood in the 1960s

The Queen delighting her fans on a walkabout at Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, during her 2002 Golden Jubilee tour. Picture: Paul Jacobs

The Queen delighting her fans on a walkabout at Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, during her 2002 Golden Jubilee tour. Picture: Paul Jacobs