THE Echo's celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's 70-year reign continues with a look back at a visit to the town Her Majesty has a very special relationship with.

Thousands of people from Romsey roared a royal welcome when the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visited the borough.

Her Majesty and Prince Philip were guests at Romsey's charter celebrations on April 6, 1957.

It was a double pleasure for them. They were returning again to the scene of the beginning of their honeymoon nearly 10 years previous.

The royal couple had stayed overnight at Broadlands, their honeymoon home.

The prince had flown down by helicopter landing in the grounds to join the Queen.

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The celebration was to mark that 350 years previous King James I granted a royal charter to the borough

It was a bright day with blue skies and a playful breeze. Flags, bunting and streamers added to the carnival atmosphere.

Queen and Prince Philip's car drove through the narrow crowd-lined streets of Romsey to the marketplace and town hall.

Romsey folk, who had been joined by visitors from many parts of the county, cheered their welcome from the rooftops and jostled for vantage points in top floor windows of shops, houses and offices framing the marketplace.

There was a mighty burst of cheering and a wild waving of flags as the Queen and Duke stepped from their car.

The Queen wore a ruby-red velvet coat trimmed with fur collar and fitting close to the waist. Her handbag and shoes were black and she wore a close-fitting ruby-red hat and a triple string of pearls.

The prince, hatless, wore a grey lounge suit.

At the Town Hall and Marketplace, an historic setting, where the weather-worn grey stones of the ancient Abbey tower can be seen peeping above the Georgian rooftops, the royal couple were received by Admiral of the Fleet Earl Mountbatten of Burma, who was High Steward of Romsey.

They were also greeted by other dignitaries of the town and county.

During the inspection of the Guard of Honour, Her Majesty walked slowly between the lines of men.

The mayor of Romsey Councillor H G Mackerel delivered the loyal address:

"The borough of Romsey do humbly desire to offer to Your Majesty and Your Royal Highness our loyal and dutiful welcome to this borough. 

"We are deeply conscious of the honour conferred upon like your gracious presence here today, and we wish to assure you not only of our loyalty but also of our affectionate regard.

"We recall with gratitude favours conferred upon Romsey in the past and particularly the granting of charters for the borough by Your Majesty's royal predecessors, King James I and King William III, and we look to the future with confidence and determination that our borough will use to the best advantage the powers entrusted to it. 

"We hope that Your Majesty and Your Royal Highness will keep happy memories of an occasion which will not only be a landmark in the annals of our borough but will be treasured in our hearts always.

"We do earnestly pray that God may bless Your Majesty and Your Royal Highness in all your undertakings. Knowing as we do your devotion to the welfare of this realm of England, which we all love, and which you cherish with such affection."

Replying to the loyal address, the Queen thanked H G Mackrell for the affectionate terms and for the warmth of the welcome which she and the Prince had received.

"It is always a real pleasure to both of us to visit Romsey – a place of which we have the most happy memories," she said.

"We are especially pleased to be with you when you are celebrating the 350th anniversary of the grant of your Charter of Incorporation; and we look forward to joining you in the service of thanksgiving on this occasion in your ancient Abbey, where we have so often worshipped.

"The stream of history has quietly flowed through your town, and its course has been marked by a long tradition of good management of the affairs of the borough in which the corporation may take very proper pride.

"Against this background, Mr Mayor, you and your colleagues can confidently survey the years to come and I'm sure it will ever be your purpose to maintain this whole tradition.

"My husband and I take this opportunity by congratulating you on your achievements, and of expressing our good wishes for the welfare, happiness and prosperity of the people of Romsey."

"Then came an important moment for 130year-old Jean Rolfe, a pupil of La Saggesse Convent school.

Jane, dressed in all white, e handed the Queen a bouquet of pink and white carnations.