Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh visited Magdalen College, Oxford this Thursday. The royal visit marked the end of Magdalen’s 550th anniversary celebrations.
Small groups of locals and students gathered either side of Magdalen Bridge to catch a glimpse of the Royal couple’s arrival at 12.55pm.
Escorted by police and security vehicles, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived at the entrance gate where they were driven into St. John’s Quad.
There was a heavy police presence during the visit, with officers stationed along the length of Magdalen Bridge to prevent crowds getting too close.
The Queen was greeted by Professor David Clary, President of Magdalen College, and his wife Heather. After meeting students in the President’s Lodgings, the royal party went on to have lunch with Fellows, students and staff in the College Hall.
Lunch with the Queen
Members of the college who dined with the Queen were chosen by means of a ballot, with 120 successful out of 900 entries. Around three quarters of Magdalen students entered the ballot.
Despite the Oxford Republican group’s intention to protest on the day, the visit went ahead without any disruption. A spokesperson for Thames Valley Police remarked, “everything’s gone fine”.
There was, however, a small group of animal rights protesters stationed opposite the entrance to the college. The protersters, who were marking their opposition to the biomedical research facility on South Parks Road, had brought a banner and posters in order to capitalise on the publicity surrounding the monarch’s visit.
One of the protesters was optimistic about how their message had been received, stating “we’ve had a good response”.
Security at the college was visibly high, with all Magdalen students needing proof of identity before being allowed to enter the grounds. Porters, security service personnel and the police were posted at all entrances.
Students of the college expressed delight at the Queen’s appearance. First-year History student Colin Sherwood said “It’s exciting that she’s here and I’m impressed that Magdalen’s birthday merits a royal visit”.
The Queen last came to Oxford in 2006, though this week marked the first visit that the Queen had made to Magdalen College itself since 1948. She was then Princess Elizabeth, collecting an Honorary Degree from the University.
Before visiting Magdalen, the royal couple arrived in Banbury where the Queen opened the Leonard Cheshire Disability Care Home while the Duke of Edinburgh was given a tour of Prodrive.
After leaving Magdalen, the Queen and the Duke went on to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital where they were officially opened the west wing and the children’s hospital.