Our Queen in Kent!


Her Majesty has visited our beautiful county of Kent – and Rye in East Sussex -  many times during her reign - as have other members of her family. Too numerous to record here but these are some of her visits.

- As Princess Elizabeth, she toured Maidstone Zoo in November 1946 and visited the Carriage Museum. Maidstone Zoo was opened to the public from Spring to Autumn each year between 1934 and 1959.

- In 1963 Queen Elizabeth II and her daughter Anne left Balmoral, Scotland and set off on the night train to Kent ... to enroll Princess Anne into Benenden School for her first day. She attended for five years, leaving in 1968 with six O-Levels and two A-Levels. During this time Anne’s mum visited many times on private visits.

- On 28th October 1966 the town of Rye welcomed Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh for a wonderful royal visit. It was a rainy morning but that did not deter locals of all ages, including hundreds of excited school children, from lining the streets to wave as our special visitors were driven through the streets.

- In 1989 the Queen attended the Kent County Show in Detling, travelling by Royal train to Bearsted and then taken by car.

- An official visit was made to the Templar Barracks in Ashford in March 1981. The Queen’s cousin, the late Countess Mountbatten of Burma, lived in Mersham, outside Ashford so the Queen made many private visits there over the years. The Countess’s daughter, Lady Amanda Knatchbull, married at Ashford's St Mary’s Parish Church in 1987. The royals attended the wedding. (It is said that Charles had thought to propose to Lady Amanda before meeting Diana).

- In 2011 the Queen visited the Invicta Park Barracks in Maidstone where she met Gurkhas from 36 Engineer.

- 2013 saw the Queen visit the Howe Barracks in Canterbury to mark the departure of the Sutherland Highlanders. She had previously visited the barracks in November 2004. In 2015 an official visit was made to Canterbury Cathedral to unveil statues of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip on the Cathedral.

- Our Queen visits Leeds Castle … "Leeds - the loveliest castle as thus beheld in the whole world," wrote Lord Conway, historian of castles. During its lifetime, Leeds Castle has been home to six medieval queens and is often referred to as the “Castle of Queens, Queen of Castles”.

- Elizabeth I was imprisoned here for a time before her coronation. Perhaps the most famous owner was King Henry VIII, who transformed the castle for his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.

- In March 1981 the Queen came to visit Leeds Castle and was given a tour of the castle and estate. She was presented with the ‘key to the castle’ - shown below.

- During her visit she also met with a group of disabled people who were visiting under a scheme inaugurated by the Queen which allows disabled guests to visit the castle for free as guests of the Trustees.

- Catherine de Valois, queen of Henry V, acquired the castle in 1422, made repairs and installed the bell and clock in 1435. The clock still strikes the hour ... the bell was last rung when Queen Elizabeth II visited Leeds Castle in 1981.

We wish you all a wonderful weekend of celebrations
(if the Royal’s aren’t your thing, then enjoy the extra Bank Holiday!)