Tomorrow promises to be a right Royal day for Newmarket as residents are expected to turn out in force to greet the Queen as the town hosts her 90th birthday visit to Suffolk.
It’s more than 33 years since she opened the National Horseracing Museum in the High Street, and tomorrow she will officially launch its successor, the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art at Palace House Stables, reputedly the oldest racing stables in the world where the Queen’s predecessor Charles II stabled his ‘running horses.’
Before that, shortly after 11am, she will unveil The Queen’s Statue in Birdcage Walk, a privately funded tribute depicting the Queen with a mare and foal celebrating her special relationship with Newmarket and the thoroughbred.
Guests including Princess Haya, wife of Sheikh Mohammed, members of the Newmarket Commemorative Committee, who are responsible for the statue, councillors, local school children and 20 residents chosen through a ballot in the Newmarket Journal, will be entertained by the Newmarket Town Band as the sculpture is dedicated.
From 10.30am two drays drawn by Suffolk Punches will parade down the High Street ahead of The Queen’s motor convoy. Union flags will be handed out by local army and sea cadets and members of the Royal Hospital School band will be playing at the Bill Tutte memorial.
The High Street will be closed between 10.30am and 11.30am from The Avenue to the Clock Tower roundabout with diversions in place.
The Rous Road car park will be closed but there will be free parking available on The Severals. Newmarket Town Council is providing refreshments at the memorial hall.
When she arrives at the Vicarage Road entrance to the heritage centre pupils from neighbouring All Saints Primary School will line the drive and one of them will present the Queen with a posy before she is taken on a tour the venue and introduced to many of the individuals and organisations whose support over the years has made the multi-million pound redevelopment possible.
In the Rothschild yard, now the base for the Retraining of Racehorses charity, the Queen will see two of her former racehorses Barbers Shop and Quadrille.
In the house, which had been occupied over the centuries by a legion of well-known trainers and is now home to the new racing museum, she will see some of the new galleries and attractions and meet staff before going across the road to Palace House Mansion, now home to the art collections of the British Sporting Art Trust.
Newmarket mayor Cllr Andy Drummond said the Royal visit, the first official one since 2011, was a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity for the town and hoped residents would turn out in force to greet The Queen and cheer her through the streets.
“Newmarket will be representing Suffolk and we want everyone to be part of this very special day for our town and make it one that we will all remember for many years to come,” he said.