The Earl and Countess of Wessex visit Lancashire


Read more about Their Royal Highnesses’ day, as they joined residents marking 20 years since Preston was granted city status to mark The Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

20 years ago The Queen visited Preston as it was granted city status in Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee year.

The Queen visits Preston in 2002

The first stop of the day for The Earl and Countess of Wessex was Preston Markets, where Their Royal Highnesses met some of the traders selling local Lancashire produce.

In the bustling market, The Earl met and thanked those from the local community who supported the city’s Covid response.

The Countess was also able to meet families from Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine who have been resettled in Preston. The Countess heard how the families have been supported by the local community and spoke to them about their experiences of being resettled in the UK.

The Countess of Wessex in Preston

Their Royal Highnesses then paid tribute to the achievements of famous ‘Prestonian’ Nick Park, the creator of Wallace and Gromit and founder of Aardman, where a special Wallace and Gromit bench has been created.

The bronze bench, inspired by The Wrong Trousers, has been installed outside Preston Markets and is open to visitors who can have the opportunity to sit down and have a photo with the iconic duo.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex at the Wallace and Gromit Bench

The Earl and Countess then went on to visit Avenham and Miller Parks in the city centre, where Their Royal Highnesses met members of the local business community who are working with the council on a regeneration programme.

The Earl and Countess had the chance to see how the local community benefit from using the city’s greenspaces, and met groups including the Preston Panthers, Preston North End Football Trust and DanceSyndrome.

Miller Park has recently gone through an £8-million restoration project, with a tree planted by Their Royal Highnesses to mark the project’s completion.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex plant a tree at Miller Park

It was then time for a trip to the historic Lancaster Castle, where The Earl and Countess had the chance to see areas of the Castle that have been recently refurbished, alongside meeting some of experts whose traditional skills are still being used at the Castle.

The Earl of Wessex visit Lancaster Castle

There was also a chance to meet representatives from local community groups, including Lancaster & Morecambe City of Sanctuary, who provide assistance to refugees, and Bay Volunteers, who have provided Covid relief support in the community.