The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh sailed for home last night in the Royal yacht after a triumphant three-day State visit to Holland.
Cheering crowds waited on the quayside in Rotterdam, despite the rain, and waved farewell to the Queen and the Duke, who stood on the deck as the Britannia moved down the waterway towards the sea.
The Britannia, which docks at Dover today, sailed at 10.30pm, half-an-hour behind schedule after the Queen’s 59 guests had left after a farewell dinner. Queen Juliana, Prince Bernhard and Princess Beatrix and Princess Irene were among the last to leave.
Shipping on the waterway, Holland’s busiest canal, which is Rotterdam’s outlet to the sea, was brought to a standstill to ensure a swift passage for the Royal yacht.
Earlier the Royal party watched a giant display of fireworks. At the Britannia dinner, the Queen wore a dress of heavy oyster-white satin with a close fitting skirt and a wide three-cornered neckline.
During the day, the Queen paid a surprise visit to the two-rooms-and-a-kitchen flat of a £10-a-week clerk and his pregnant 26-year-old wife, a mother of two. The Queen said it was a very nice flat, but rather small for four, and asked about the rent.