Greenwich is ship shape for Queen and Prince Philip’s visit
Last minute preparations are underway for the Queen and Prince Philip’s visit to Greenwich tomorrow.
There is a hive of activity on the Cutty Sark which the Queen will formally re-open after years of restoration which have given the ship a new look.
Checks are being made to rigging and the last coats of paint applied to stair edges before the Royal couple come on board tomorrow morning.
The ship started life as a tea trading vessel and tomorrow the royal couple will be able to smell the aroma of tea rather than paint.
Earlier the Queen will be greeted at her arrival in Greenwich by a choir and orchestra performing a specially composed anthem to mark the official granting of Royal status to Greenwich.
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Musicians from the Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra and a choir of 300 pupils from ten schools, together with a choir from Trinity Laban College and the Our World Choir have been entertaining tourists as they go through their final rehearsals at Cutty Sark Gardens.
Richard Doughty who has overseen the Cutty Sark restoration said it was an exciting day to finally see the ship reopen after the fire in 2007 which caused �10 million of damage. A restoration plan was already underway before the blaze.
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Prince Philip has been involved with the ship since the early 1950s when he played a key role in getting her brought to Greenwich and has served as patron of the Cutty Sark Trust.
Chris Nash, partner at the architects Grimshaw which has overseen the project said: “When he has spare time he turns up to see how we are doing.”
“I like the idea that it’s his project and he’s giving it to the Queen as a Jubilee project.”
Richard Doughty, director of the Cutty Sark Project said: “It is a fairy tale to see this ship has come through the fire and now the Queen is opening her just when Royal Greenwich is declared and a few weeks before the Olympic games in the city and to cap it all off it is a royal jubilee and we are intensely privileged the queen is opening the ship at such a wonderful time.”
Later the Queen and Prince Philip will visit the National Maritime Museum looking out on the park which hosts the equestrian events in this summer’s Olympics.
They will view the Royal River - power, pageantry and the Thames exhibition.
The show features work from the royal collection and one of the centrepieces is a painting by Canaletto of the Thames filled with boats as part of a Lord Mayor’s Day celebrations in the eighteenth century which has been loaned from a private collection in Czechoslovakia.
The show is curated by Dr David Starkey who said: “The Canaletto has not been in the country since it was painted in 1752, it is one of the very best Canaletto’s and shows the vibrancy of everyday life and the splendour of the Lord Mayor’s procession of barges and sails.”
The exhibition opens on Friday April 27 and the Cutty Sark reopens to the public on Thursday April 26.