Queen shows concern for rhinos’ comfort

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YOUNG Ruby Pilgrim, nine, presented the Queen with a posy yesterday as the monarch and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Chester Zoo in Cheshire.

The visit, as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee tour, came during her trip to the North West which began in Lancashire on Wednesday.

As the Queen arrived, loud cheers and applause came from hundreds of well-wishers, some of whom had been waiting since 6.30am.

After waving to the crowd, the Queen unveiled a plaque at the new £2m entrance and gateway of the zoo, named the Diamond Jubilee Quarter.

During her visit she came face-to-face with two rhinos resting on some hay, and asked the keeper if they were “keeping warm.”

The 40-minute tour was rounded off when Ruby, daughter of the zoo’s director general Dr Mark Pilgrim, presented the Queen with flowers.

The nine-year-old said: “She asked me if I liked ponies and seeing the birds and animals in the zoo.”

There were more cheers for the monarch as she left and made her way to her next visit to Orford Jubilee Park in Warrington.

The Queen and her husband formally opened the £30m development, which acts as a community centre and includes sports facilities, a library and doctor’s surgery.

Crowds stood five-deep around the centre to get a glimpse of the royal visitors, with hundreds of school children excitedly waving their Union Jack flags.

After their visit to Warrington the royal party left for Liverpool.

Meanwhile, it was confirmed yesterday that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to join the Queen on her royal barge during the River Thames flotilla celebrating the Diamond Jubilee.

The spectacular water-borne extravaganza featuring some 1,000 vessels will be one of the highlights of the Jubilee weekend.

Organisers hope to recreate scenes not seen on the river since the reign of Charles II.