Press reporter MAXINE GORDON recalls the Queen's last visit to York on April 5, 2012

AS a reporter, I'd covered many royal visits over the years, but this one was going to be the biggest.
The Queen was coming to York - as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations - and I was determined to get a good vantage spot.
I headed up to Micklegate, the traditional royal entrance into the city; it was a bright, blue-skied day.
Barricades were up in anticipation of the crowds - and, already, the streets were filling up with wellwishers waving flags.
As I weaved my way up Micklegate at 7am, some traders were also making an early start.
Ray Neal, of tanning salon Sunshine, was cleaning his windows, which were already decorated in red, white and blue bunting. Fellow trader Jayne Mason set up a stall outside her store, Fancy Dance Shop, selling wigs, hats and garlands in patriotic colours.
Vicky Cumberland, from Escrick, had brought her nine-year-old granddaughter, Evie, from Hemingbrough, to York. They were the first to arrive at Micklegate Bar, setting up their pitch at 5am, to be sure of a good view of the monarch and the Royal party making their traditional entrance to the city on foot.
Some canny folk had climbed up on to the Bar walls for a bird’s-eye view, while residents in the flats above shops looked down on proceedings.

York Press: The Queen arrives in York in 2012 - photo by Maxine GordonThe Queen arrives in York in 2012 - photo by Maxine Gordon
READ MORE: Relive the Queen's last visit to York hour by hour in our live blog of the day
We were all entertained in medieval-style by musicians, York Waits, while historical re-enactors dressed in Civil War regalia marched up and down the street.
I found the perfect viewing spot - right by the arches at Micklegate Bar. There was no one in front to block my view; I was determined to grab some photos on my camera phone as the Queen and the royal party of Prince Philip and Princess Beatrice made their entrance into York.
As the Royal cavalcade arrived, the crowds gave a thunderous welcome, The cheers became even louder as the Queen - dressed in pale blue - got out of her car at the entrance to Micklegate Bar to greet the Civic party.
As she came through the bar, I grabbed some photos - and immediately posted them on social media to share with Press readers.
Later that day, the Queen enjoyed lunch at the Mansion House and attended York Minster to distribute Maundy Money. There were 172 recipients in all - 86 men and 86 women, to represent the Queen's age, 86. Each recipient received two purses, one white and one red. The white one contained the Maundy Money coins and the red one contained a £5 coin and a 50p coin.
This was the first time in 40 years that the Queen had distributed her Maundy Money in York.

York Press: The Queen with Archbishop of York John Sentamu during her 2012 visitThe Queen with Archbishop of York John Sentamu during her 2012 visit
During her visit, the Queen has presented York with a new "cap of maintenance". York has had such a cap since 1393, and it represents the city's prestige and status. When King Richard II presented the first cap, he said it must not be taken off "before King or God".
The council estimated that some 15,000 people had been on streets of York to greet the Queen.
The Queen left York by helicopter at 3.45pm after spending five hours in the city - but not, apparently, empty handed.
The Royal visitors were presented with locally-made chocolates from York Cocoa House. On twitter, @yorkcocoahouse reported they made moulds from the Civic chains of office and used Nicaraguan chocolate, and a 120-year-old Terry's recipe. They also tweeted: "Prince Phillip has taken two of our chocolates for the trip home wrapped up in a napkin. The Queen told the Lord Mayor she wasn't sharing!"

Click here to re-read the Press's live blog of the day here

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