Page last updated at 13:46 GMT, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 14:46 UK

Welcome for Queen in royal town

By Wena Alun Owen
BBC News reporter

The Queen arrives in Caernarfon castle
The Queen arrived in Caernarfon castle with the mayor councillor Hywel Roberts

Crowds turned out to see the Queen and Prince Philip as they visited the royal town of Caernarfon, Gwynedd.

There was a feeling of anticipation inside the ancient castle walls as school children and local dignitaries waited for the monarch to arrive.

A hush then descended, before cheers and applause as the Queen came into the castle with town mayor Hywel Roberts.

Speaking before the royal party arrived Councillor Roberts said it was an "honour and a privilege" to take part.

"There's a lot that's new here since the investiture," he said.

"Also Caernarfon castle is an iconic symbol. I think she'll get a warm welcome from the people of Caernarfon," he added.

Children wave flags inside the castle
Caernarfon school children inside the castle

Acting goat major Lance Cpl Dai Davies, who hails from Neath, was in charge of Billy the goat mascot for the 1st Battalion Royal Welsh (Royal Welch Fusiliers).

It was the first outing for Billy - full name William Windsor - after he was chosen for the role from the goats on the Great Orme at Llandudno last year.

"It's his first big job and I've never worked with him before, and you never know what he's going to do," he said.

As it turned out Billy behaved impeccably and the Queen even stopped to speak to Lance Cpl Davies.

Excitable children with Welsh flags were looked after by their teachers.

Elaine Richings , who had come from Ysgol Santes Helen Catholic school in Caernarfon, said: "The children are very, very excited about it, and they've been talking about it all week.

Billy the mascot with Lance Cpl Dai Davies
It was the first outing for Billy the goat mascot

"There's been a lot of polishing of shoes and ironing of clothes.

"This will definitely stick in their memory," she added.

Outside the imposing castle walls hundreds had gathered to catch a glimpse of the queen.

Some had travelled from outside the immediate area.

Bangor University students Chris Almond, James Rimmer and Becky Price said they thought it was good the Queen goes to "places that are a bit further out".

Beryl Scott and Mona Edwards, also from Bangor, said it was all "good for the town".

Betty Roberts
It wasn't fair as only the dignitaries saw here
Betty Roberts, Caernarfon

They added that the visit was not a waste of public money.

"She's a good example to everybody," Ms Edwards added.

Lili Mazumder and her family had travelled from Holyhead.

"It's nice to see her, it's nice for the school children to see her," she said.

Others were disappointed as they only got a glimpse of the monarch as she came out on a balcony overlooking Castle Square.

Many said they had stood there because barriers set out suggested the royal car would pass that way.

"It was a waste of time as we've been standing here for an hour and a half, and she didn't pass us, someone eventually said 'she's already gone into the castle'," said Cai Allsup.

Betty Roberts from Caernarfon said she was also disappointed.

"I spoke to one elderly lady and she'd been queuing up on Castle Square since nine am, but only the dignitaries got to see her," she said.

"Why didn't someone say something about the route she was going to take?" she added.

Back inside the castle after the royal party had moved on it was business as usual.

The children were given juice and a biscuit before they went back to school, and holiday-makers were once more allowed in.

Brian Thomas
She said the castle looked good, and I said a lot of hard work had gone into it
Brian Thomas, castle custodian

Custodian, Brian Thomas, said the Queen stopped to chat with castle staff.

"She asked me what we did here, and I explained that we do the meet-and-greet," he said.

"She said the castle looked good, and I said a lot of hard work had gone into it."

Mr Thomas also got the opportunity to speak to the Duke of Edinburgh.

"He was asking me if we were snowed in during the winter, and I explained that although everywhere around us was affected, the castle stayed open," he added.

It was the second time Mr Thomas had met the Queen.

"I'm ex-guards and I've done trooping the colour, and I met the Queen in Beaumaris too," he said.

"I think it's good that she's come here.

"The children will remember this, and it was lovely to see the flags flying, it's been a really good day," he added.

Print Sponsor

Queen back in town after 35 years
27 Apr 10 |  North West Wales

Caernarfon Herald Gwynedd News: The Queen at Caernarfon Castle on Royal visit to North Wales - 7 hrs ago
Daily Post Crowds greet Queen at Caernarfon Castle as she visits N.Wales - 15 hrs ago
North Wales Chronicle Crowds cheer as the Queen visits Caernarfon - 31 hrs ago
Times Online Court Circular: April 28 - 33 hrs ago
4NI Queen In Caernarfon After 35 Years - 46 hrs ago

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