IT HAS been 60 years since these stunning images were taken in Winchester. Not only do they depict the Queen opening council offices, but they capture the spirit of the city’s residents.

The ancient capital of England greeted her majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh in a joyful and open-hearted mood on June 8, 1959 - undaunted and undeterred by grey skies, chill and gusting rain.

There was a roar of greeting from thousands who waited in the showers when the royal couple appeared on the balcony, facing the West Gate.

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The crowds erupted in great applause when the Queen, in her speech, declared Hampshire County Council’s £600,000 offices open and announced that the building would be known as Elizabeth II Court.

The Queen and Duke then walked from the new building to the Castle, the Queen protecting herself from with driving rain with the use of an umbrella.

The 4,000 closely-packed school children standing in the yard outside the Great Hall had listened quietly to the opening speeches over the loudspeaker and had cheered and clapped when they heard the guests doing the same.

Their bright school uniforms added a vibrant splash of colour to the yard.

When the Queen walked through the yard a tremendous cheer went up and many children waved handkerchiefs and Union Jacks. By the time the children went home, those who hadn’t worn raincoats were soaked through.

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In the Great Hall of the Castle, the Queen and the Duke saw King Arthur’s Round Table hanging high above the judges dais in the historic hall.

The Queen, standing just in front of the dock, showed extreme interest and the Duke asked

many questions about the architectural changes in the hall in its thousand years’ existence.

After leaving the the Great Hall, the Royal Party left by car, with hordes of photographers snapping away and thousands of well-wishers waving all of the way out of the city.

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The couple headed for Portsmouth,passing through Twyford, Bishop’s Waltham and Wickham - all of which were decorated for the occasion.

The villages along the route turned out in strength to give a royal greeting as the royal car passed by.

In Portsmouth the Queen opened the restored City Guildhall and later in the afternoon a presentation of the Queen’s Colour to Submarine Command was made at HMS Dolphin, Gosport.