Video: Beatrice gives Olympic torch a royal welcome to Harewood

THE Olympic Torch got a royal reception today when it was welcomed to Harewood House, near Leeds, by Princess Beatrice.

The princess was the special guest as the torch relay arrived at Harewood, where hundreds of schoolchildren cheered torchbearer Janet Baker up the tree-lined main drive.

Beatrice met Miss Baker, 33, on the steps of the imposing house along with the Earl of Harewood.

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Earlier, the princess was greeted with delight by the crowds of families and schoolchildren when she went on an impromptu walkabout in the grounds.

Beatrice spent about 20 minutes chatting to families waiting for the torch, telling them how pleased she was to be at the event.

Torchbearer Miss Baker said: “Coming up that drive, it was absolutely amazing - just walking through the ticket booths and then seeing the crowds start to get thicker and thicker.

“And with everybody stood on the steps waiting, it was, like, wow.”

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Asked what the Princess said to her, Miss Baker said: “Hello. Welcome - and how proud she was seeing me do it.

“Pretty special - pretty good.”

Lord Harewood said: “It’s a great honour for the Olympic Torch to come here, obviously.

“A lot of people here. A lot of kids here. For us I think that’s the most important thing - to engage schoolchildren, engage the next generation with all the good things there are about the Olympics.

“A beautiful place like this, it’s great to see people enjoying being here and enjoying being part of the Olympics too.”

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Lord Harewood welcomed children from 13 local schools to the grounds to take part in sports events and Beatrice presented the prizes.

He said: “Being awarded your school sports prize by a real princess, it doesn’t get better than that, does it?”

Miss Baker, from Leeds, is a charity fundraiser who has raised almost £19,000 for Women-V-Cancer, Alzheimer’s Society, Liverpool Alder Hey Hospital and Manchester Children’s Hospital with her runs.

She is waiting to hear if she has been selected to be a first aider for the 2012 Olympic Games.

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Earlier today, the torch started day 32 of its tour around Britain and Ireland in Hull.

Last night more than 20,000 turned out for torch event in the city’s West Park.

This morning the flame was taken into The Deep aquarium where it was greeted by divers playing underwater drums.

Again huge crowds were reported as it made its way across East Yorkshire, into North Yorkshire and across to Harewood.

York is today’s final destination.