The Queen yesterday created a precedent when, with the Duke of Edinburgh, she drove to the Bank of England to luncheon. She was the first reigning sovereign to be entertained at luncheon or dinner in the bank’s 250-year history.
Crowds who had waited for more than an hour cheered the Royal car as it drove up to the Threadneedle Street entrance.
The last visit of a sovereign to the bank was by King George V, with Queen Mary, in 1917.
The bank’s historic silver plate, most of it dating from 1694, was on the Court Room’s long rectangular table, at which 42 guests sat.
The Queen was shown the clock on the wall, above the three spacious marble fireplaces, which gives the time all over the world, and the weather vane recorder.
After lunch the Queen and the Duke went on to the balcony overlooking the Garden Court, where 1,600 of the bank staff were assembled, and many hundreds more crowded the windows and the roof.
The Queen said in a short speech: “This is not my first visit, for I remember coming here as a child with my grandmother and being fascinated, as all children are, by the sight of so much gold.”
The Queen and the Duke visited the bullion office vault where they were shown gold coins and saw gold bars, each worth £5,000.