It’s 20 years today since Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited Dudley Castle to open an Interpretation Centre.
During the 90-minute visit Her Majesty toured the centre, unveiled a piece of commemorative glass and received a crystal key to the castle as a gift from the borough before meeting members of the public and listening to a short concert by schoolchildren in the courtyard. DZG CEO Peter Suddock, who presented the glass key gift, said: “The Queen opened an Interpretation Centre in Dudley Castle, at the heart of the zoological gardens, and the site was packed with visitors hoping to get a glimpse of her.
“I was among the very lucky few to be presented to her and it was a truly memorable moment.”
He added: “The royal visit took a lot of preparation and planning and we weren’t sure until the very day whether the Queen’s Rolls Royce would be able to get through the ancient triple arch into the courtyard as it’s a large vehicle and the archway has quite a few turns, but thankfully all went off without a hitch.
“It was a glorious summer’s morning and the courtyard was packed, it was truly a day to remember.”
CAPTIONS: It’s June 24, 1994 and HRH Queen Elizabeth II is presented to DZG CEO Peter Suddock (above) before opening a new Interpretation Centre in Dudley Castle (top) at the heart of the zoological gardens.
Blue skies and sunshine . . .
The weather back in 1994 was much the same as today with blue skies and sunshine throughout the visit. Press Officer, Rachel Hickman was one of the first to arrive on site with her mum, sister, nan and nan’s best friend. She said: “We were right on the front row near the school choirs’ stand and as the Queen came along the row she stopped to shake our hands. “I remember the Queen’s outfit really clearly, especially the orange hat as my sister, Sarah and I were wearing orange that day, too.” Rachel, who was nine at the time of the visit, added: “It was Sarah’s eighth birthday so it was a really special day, and it was also the only time my mum ever let us off school, but she made sure we went straight back to the classroom after the Queen left!”