IN HER first Portsmouth public engagement of the day, Princess Anne talked to youngsters about short cuts and Star Trek.
The Princess Royal was at Trafalgar Gate to open the £8.1m link road from Mile End Road to the Naval Base, named Princess Royal Way in her honour.
And after she performed the short ceremony, the Princess, dressed in a green dress with brocade flowers, an off-white jacket, and blue gloves, met youngsters from the Flying Bull Primary School.
Eleven-year-old Robert Alexander handed her a bouquet of flowers.
He said: ‘I said to her “Princess, Your Royal Highness” and handed her the flowers. She said thank you and asked us about what we’re doing with the road.’
The youngsters will paint a mural featuring their designs for future navy vessels, close to the end of the road’s approach to the Gate.
Ethan Jones, 11, of Steerforth Close, Buckland, said: ‘She told us our designs could catch up with Star Trek. I liked her, she was nice.’
Luke May, also 11, of Grafton Street, Buckland, added: ‘She asked if any of us will use the road and I said me and my dad will. She said it will be a good short cut. But I might join the navy when I grow up. I wanted to tell her she had nice clothes, but I didn’t.’
The 140m link road, as well as a right turn from Mile End Road, was designed to make it easier for traffic to get to the Naval Base, and reduce congestion for non-base traffic.
It took 11 months to build.
Portsmouth City Council leader, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: ‘The most important feedback from the last naval base review was that access needed to be better to our base. So, this road was created to protect the naval base. Seventeen thousand jobs depend on the base here, so it’s vital we do what’s needed to protect it. Traffic into the city will also be helped.’