Report: The Royal visit - A view from the Magazine, March 2012




It is only on rare occasions that you may find students on campus as early as 6:30am. You may find one or two coming from a night shift in the library or job or even a night club. But very rarely would you find these young students congregating in clusters in the wee hours of the morning outside of exam season. But such was the sense of occasion on this faithful day as we all excitedly and eagerly anticipated the arrival of Her Majesty the Queen and her Royal party, which included the wife of Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge.

So was it all worth it? Absolutely yes! Despite standing in the cold for hours upon hours, the time flew by as everyone engaged in conversation, laughter and fun. The DMU crowd attracted staff and members of the community alike, which brought a real sense of togetherness and community spirit within the grounds of De Montfort University (DMU).

Initially we had decided to stand by the plaque that the Queen was to unveil, in order to get a better view when she arrived, but my colleagues and I decided the side of the Magazine Gateway building looked like an underestimated territory with a good view. So we worked our way there and took up our positions. For those unfamiliar with DMU Campus, the Magazine Gateway is a castle like, arch structure where the royals were to walk through as an entrance upon their arrival. A red carpet covered the cobbled stone path which made the old building look even more picturesque and fitting for such an occasion.

As the time of arrival drew nigh the anticipation increased and there was such excitement and delight in the voices and faces of the people that spread across the landscape and this peaked as the royal fleet of cars pulled up in front of the Magazine Gateway for the red carpet entrance. The view from the Magazine Gateway was slightly restricted as we could not see the Queen and the rest of the Royals as they got out of their car. However there was a clear view when they walked toward the entrance of the Hugh Aston building. The Queen was eloquently and immaculately dressed in a pink and black suit with pink and black hat to match. The Duchess was absolutely stunning and looked more beautiful in real life then in the media. Those that did not have clear view were not deterred from making their voices heard, climbing on one another and waving their flags and calling out patriotically.

The DMU EAGA Choir was located on the left of the Magazine building and was to sing on cue as Her Majesty approached the Hugh Ashton building (DMU’s business school). As the Queen made her way past the Bhangra and Chinese dancers, the choir began to sing ‘Masifika’ which meant that her appearance to all was imminent. The Queen stood before the choir and then made her way into the building followed by the Royal party moments after. The Choir and all the performances were delivered with professionalism and grace which generated a sense of civic pride amongst the beautiful people of Leicester.

The Queen was to return outside to unveil the commemorative plaque after watching a fashion and culture show in the Hugh Ashton building. There was now a great sense of anticipation as we waited for their return. Upon seeing the Queen approach the exit through the building’s glass walls, the crowd once again began to scream, whistle and chant. When Prince Phillip emerged he turned to the Choir and said “I thought you were going to sing” and before a reply could be given he jokingly said “is this the song?” referring to our silence.

The Queen then went over and unveiled the plaque to loud cheers which was the prompt for the DMU EAGA Choir to break out into singing ‘Oh Happy Day’. The song was well executed and the words were fitting for the occasion as the sun was out and it was truly a happy day indeed. The Queen then greeted a few people in the crowds and took flowers from some young children to the delight of those looking on, perhaps hoping for the same opportunity.

The Royal party and their security team finally made their way round to their fleet of luxury cars which was to ferry them to their next destination. It is safe to say that it was a day that will never be forgotten.