THE queen felt an affinity with Devon thanks to the ‘warmth’ of the welcome she received on her visits, her representative in the county has said.
Lord lieutenant of Devon, David Fursdon, met the UK’s longest-serving monarch on numerous occasions as part of his role, which he was appointed to in 2015.
Her Majesty visited the county several times during her 70-year reign, the first of which was in 1952 when she came to the Royal Agricultural Show at Stover near Newton Abbot.
Her other visits included a number of appearances in Exeter and Plymouth, as well as tours of Barnstaple and Torbay.
‘She felt affinity resulting from the warmth of the welcome that she received. Whether that was in urban parts of the county or rural parts of the county, of course she was equally happy in either of those settings,’ Mr Fursdon said.
But Dartmouth’s Royal Naval College is likely to have held the most significance to Her Majesty.
It was there in 1939 that she properly met her future husband Prince Philip for the first time.
The couple returned to the town on a number of occasions.
It led to an interest from the queen in the navy and for the armed services in general, the lord lieutenant said, adding: ‘Devon has always been an important home for units of the armed forces, so she felt an affinity with that.’
Mr Fursdon now becomes the king’s representative and has spoken highly of his experiences with the former Duke of Cornwall during his annual visits to the county.
Describing them as ‘really enjoyable,’ the lord lieutenant said: ‘We had great fun with him. We normally had two or three visits in a day.
‘He was incredibly professional. He loved the public and if they were [visits] where the public were involved, he would spend as much time talking to the public as he would on the place that we were visiting.
‘He was just easy to work with and fun actually.
‘He always had a twinkle.’
Asked how the new queen consort Camilla will adjust to her new duties, Mr Fursdon added: ‘I think she’s had enough practice. She’s now been doing it for a lot of years and she has always accompanied [the former Duke of Cornwall, now King Charles] on the visits to Devon.
‘So, she’s got a lot of experience of public-facing engagements.
‘She will be incredibly supportive to him and she will leave him in the limelight and will be there supporting him in that role.’