Monday 4 June 2012

Jubilee Thoughts

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her diamond jubilee over this weekend and bank holiday. Only on one other occasion has a Monarch reached such a landmark, Queen Victoria in 1897. As part of those celebrations Victoria granted city status to Bradford. As our current Head of State reflects on sixty years on the throne, we remember Her Majesty’s visit to Valley Parade in 1997. 

As part of the Maundy Monday visit to Bradford, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II officially opened Bradford City’s new Midland Road stand on 27 March 1997. The Queen arrived by Royal Train at Forster Square station. The first part of the visit was distributing Maundy Money at Bradford Cathedral, before officially opening Centenary Square in the city centre. Large crowds braved a rainy day to greet Her Majesty as the motorcade passed along Market Street en route to City Hall and a civic reception. In the early afternoon the motorcade made its way up Manningham Lane to Valley Parade. A red carpet stretched from the Main Stand across the pitch to where the players and dignitaries awaited. Among the guests were former players Bobby Campbell and Stuart McCall, members of the Football Association and Justice Popplewell – whose report into the Valley Parade fire had such vast implications for the game. Bradford City chairman Geoffrey Richmond led the Queen down through the Main Stand and out onto the rain soaked pitch. A Royal aid ensured that Her Majesty remained dry under an umbrella, but the waiting players were lashed with gusty blasts of rain. Apparently, Prince Phillip told manager Chris Kamara that his team would have to improve somewhat if they were going to avoid relegation! A plaque marking the historic occasion was unveiled and the Queen and Prince Phillip took their places in specially constructed seats in the Midland Road to watch a pageant produced by Bradford based Stage 84. It told the centenary story of the city of Bradford – including a reference to the FA Cup win of 1911. Afterwards, the Royal party made its way onto the Midland Road where the motorcade whisked Her Majesty off to Yeadon Airport and London.

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