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Tuesday, December 1, 1998 Published at 17:21 GMT


Dresden Cross presented at Windsor

The first state visit to Windsor Castle since the fire

The BBC's John McIntyre: "Gesture of reconcilliation"
A giant golden orb and cross has been presented to the Germany President Roman Herzog during a ceremony at Windsor Castle.

Mr Herzog and his wife Christiane were the guests of the Queen and Prince Philip in the first state visit to the castle since the 1992 fire.

The president's four-day visit to the UK is aimed at developing closer relations between the two countries.

[ image: Dresden's Frauenkirche was destroyed in the bombing raids]
Dresden's Frauenkirche was destroyed in the bombing raids
After a ceremonial welcome, the Queen and the president inspected the 18ft high gilded orb and cross, a newly-made replica of a baroque church cross destroyed in bomb raids on Dresden during World War II.

It was commissioned by the Dresden Trust, a UK organisation which raised around 300,000 from individuals, charities and companies across the country.

The Queen herself contributed directly to the fund.

It is a symbol of reconciliation between the UK and Germany, and was presented as a gift for the people of Dresden.

[ image: The guardsman was taken to hospital]
The guardsman was taken to hospital
The Dresden Cross will travel to Germany at the start of the new millennium, when renovation to the Frauenkirche should be well under way.

Until then it will go on display at Coventry Cathedral, which was itself severely damaged in German bombing raids.

[ image: Alan Smith: Tribute to father]
Alan Smith: Tribute to father
For one of the team of British craftsmen who have been involved in its construction, the Dresden Cross has had particular significance.

Alan Smith's father piloted a Lancaster bomber which took part in the air raids on the German town.

Mr Smith, a silversmith, said: "It was one of the things he was never really happy over himself, after the bombing of Dresden.

"This is now a monument to him, to say sorry, or everything's going to be OK."

Before the ceremony, a guardsman was injured when his horse reared backwards, missing the Queen's car by inches. He was later discharged from hospital after treatment for a shoulder injury.

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