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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 June, 2003, 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK
Royal glamour for tourist attractions
By Brian Thornton
BBC News Online

On a day of royal walkabouts to boost tourism, the Princess Royal has concentrated on lesser-known attractions in the south.

Princess Anne speaks children
Princess Anne speaks to pupils from St John's School
Her whistle-stop tour began in Gosport at the Royal Naval Submarine Museum and Explosion! The Museum of Naval Firepower.

She later visited the Seven Sisters Country Park, in East Sussex, before travelling by Cuckmere Community Bus to Alfriston Clergy House, an ancient thatched house.

Ten members of the Royal Family were visiting attractions across the United Kingdom on Tuesday as part of British Tourism Day.

The visit by Princess Anne is seen as an effort to give smaller, less well-known attractions some much needed publicity.

Sam Bache and Peter Brazier
Sam Bache and Peter Brazier said the Princess was very kind

None of the attractions feels the need as keenly as the Explosion! exhibition.

Secrecy served the Priddy's Hard site well during its 200 years as military base but it has proved troublesome for the new museum.

Since its transformation over two years ago the centre has been attracting 35,000 people annually but needs to nearly double that figure to survive in the long term.

Guided by Curator Chris Henry, the princess toured the exhibitions before meeting children from a local school in the Education Centre.

During the tour the princess meet Mike Hockin, 61, who oversaw the closure of the military operations at the site.

He said the efforts of the Royal Family were very much appreciated.

"She was utterly charming as always - she has the common touch.

Princess tours exhibit
Princess meets Bill Adnitt and Colin Linington

"It's great that the royals are presenting a united front to help tourism.

"It can't hurt, can it?"

Colin Linington, 73, who has been a volunteer at the museum for eight years after serving 27 years in the Navy, said the princess was very knowledgeable about the exhibits.

"She was very pleasant and seemed very interested in the exhibition.

"The visit will raise the profile of the place - the visit will help no end," he said.

It provides a focus for debate; it forces people to ask questions about why we have wars and armies
Curator Chris Henry

The princess also met pupils from St John's School in the Education Centre at the museum.

Sam Bache, 11, said: "I was honoured to meet her; I haven't met anyone famous before.

"She was quite normal, I really liked her clothes," he said.

Stephanie Connolly, 10, thought it was important for the royal family to travel around the UK.

Important issues

"Because her mother is the Queen, she should get to know people all over the country," she said.

Mr Henry, 41, said that although the museum is about conflict it does not glorify war.

"It raises important issues and gives a balanced view of warfare and how it works.

"It provides a focus for debate; it forces people to ask questions about why we have wars and armies.

"What we do is put war in a social context."

Princess Anne's visit to the south
10 Jun 03  |  Photo Gallery
Royal boost for tourism
28 May 03  |  UK
Early boost for tourism industry
20 May 03  |  Scotland

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