A nostalgic look back at the Queen's visits to Luton and Dunstable over the decades as we prepare to celebrate Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee

As we prepare to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee later this week we take a look at Her Majesty’s visits to the Luton and Dunstable area over the years... with a few street parties from her coronation in 1953 thrown in for good measure too!

By Steve Sims
Monday, 30th May 2022, 12:36 am
Updated Monday, 30th May 2022, 1:04 am

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh’s visits to Luton became something of a tradition.

They are pictured arriving at St Mary’s Parish Church, Luton, for Sunday morning service in November 1952. The Royal couple had been married for five years and it eventually became traditional for them to spend the weekend nearest to their wedding anniversary as guests of their friends Sir Harold and Lady Zia Wernher at Luton Hoo.

The 1952 visit, ten months after the Queen succeeded to the throne following the death of King George VI, may have been her first to the town. When she and the Duke returned in 1954, the Luton News reported that a crowd of nearly 3,000 had gathered to welcome them.

The couple are also pictured in another Luton News image believed to be 1960 at St Mary’s Church.

The Queen is pictured visiting Luton again in 1962 when she toured the recently opened Luton Central Library in November of that year. It replaced the Carnegie Library, which had opened on the corner of George Street and Williamson Street in 1910.

She is also pictured during that visit on the steps of the Town Hall and also on a town centre walkabout in Manchester Street.

In November 1999, the Queen was back to open the new £40m passenger terminal at Luton Airport. During her visit to Luton she also opened Luton Parkway Station, Vauxhall Motors, the Orchard Unit - a secure mental health unit - and the New Opportunities and Horizons training centre. Her day also involved calling in at the Welbeck Centre – a job training centre for youngsters – and the National Centre of Language and Culture for Business programme based at the University of Luton.

In April 2017, the Queen opened the new Centre for Elephant Care at Whipsnade Zoo and then moved on to visit thrilled residents at Priory View independent living scheme in Church Street, Dunstable.

Our other images show 1953 Coronation parties in Luton at Britannia Avenue, Lewsey Road and Shakespeare Road.

Have you memories of seeing or meeting the Queen over the years? Perhaps you’ve got some old street party images? Email [email protected]

Page 1 of 5