Fancy seeing you! Princess makes a surprise visit to city

VISIT The Princess Royal arrives at the Royal Navy Museum ''yesterday
VISIT The Princess Royal arrives at the Royal Navy Museum ''yesterday
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David Curwen, centre, hugs his mother with whom he wa sreunited. Completing the group is his brother Keith

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SIGHTSEERS at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard were stunned when Princess Anne turned up for a private visit.

Just weeks after the Queen dropped by unannounced for lunch at Gunwharf Quays, her daughter arrived in front of HMS Victory with a police escort.

SURPRISED John and Lydia Harrod-Eagles

SURPRISED John and Lydia Harrod-Eagles

She was in Portsmouth for a meeting of the Women’s Royal Naval Service Benevolent Trust – a forces charity of which she is the patron.

Afterwards, the royal looked around the navy frigate HMS Westminster in Portsmouth Naval Base.

John Harrod-Eagles and his wife Lydia from Queensland, Australia, were visiting the Historic Dockyard when the Princess Royal arrived yesterday.

Lydia, 61, said: ‘It was a lovely surprise.

‘I’m quite a fan of the royal family. I admire what they do, especially the young royals.

‘I actually saw Princess Anne once before when she came to Sydney many years ago, but I never expected her to be here while we were on holiday. It’s such a surprise.’

John, 61, added: ‘Someone mentioned to us that she was coming so we hung around for a bit and sure enough the police motorbike arrived and she was in a car behind.

‘She could have waved but it was good to see her anyway.’

Ken and Joan Hiles from Bournemouth were on a day trip to see the navy’s historic ships when they caught a glimpse of the Princess.

Ken, 85, who served in the Second World War as a Royal Navy electrical mechanic, said: ‘We didn’t get a fantastic look, but it was nice to see her. It’s lovely seeing Princess Anne in person, especially when you see a lot of the royal family on television.

‘They do a great job representing our country and we would be much worse off without them.’

His wife of 56 years, Joan, 85, said: ‘We were glad we came today and saw Anne looking lovely. We realise that these kind of trips are very useful to a city.’

The Princess Royal will return to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on an official visit next Wednesday to mark 100 years since the Dockyard Museum opened in Portsmouth.

During her visit to the museum, which is now called the National Museum of the Royal Navy, the royal will unveil a commemorative centenary plaque and witness the unveiling of a commissioned stained glass window celebrating key dates and people associated with the museum during the last 100 years.

Graham Dobbin, chief operating officer at the museum, said: ‘We look forward to what will be a fantastic day as we celebrate our centenary.’