Three weeks later she was in the city again to attend the wedding of the Duke of Kent and the then Miss Katharine Worsley of Hovingham. She was one of three Queens in the congregation, the other two being our present Queen, a cousin of the Duke, and Queen Ena of Spain, grand-daughter of Queen Victoria.

As the nation's top senior citizen she opened St Sampson's Old People's Centre on November 13, 1974, one of the happiest occasions the city witnessed.

The Queen Mother was someone who made sure her people came first, and officials had a job keeping her away from unofficial walkabouts.

This time their task was even harder as she mingled with her own generation of York's citizens, exchanging memories and unwilling to end her stay.

Their relationship did not end with the visit. The regulars sent birthday cards every year and in return received regular letters expressing a personal interest in the centre.

Selby enjoyed its first visit from the Queen Mother in July 1976. She attended a service of thanksgiving for Selby Abbey's 300,000 restoration and the ceremony included the fanfare Eboracum, composed for York's 1,900th celebrations five years earlier.

Two years later on June 29, as Patron of the Friends of York Minster, she inaugurated their 50th anniversary celebrations. There she unveiled a commemorative tablet in the Zouche chapel, which the Friends had refurbished at a cost of 6,000. She saw the Crypt, Treasury and Undercroft, as well as St John's Chapel, the regimental memorial chapel of the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, of which she was Colonel-in-Chief.

In 1986 she was in the region again paying a visit to Ripon. This time it was to help celebrate the 1,100th anniversary of the granting of the city's charter by King Alfred making it the oldest city in England.

On June 24, 1987, the Army's 2nd Infantry Division received the Queen Mother as their guest in York to unveil the Division's memorial in Dean's Park. She also walked around the Minster, seeing progress on the £3 million restoration of the South Transept, damaged by the fire of 1984. Walking round she saw the Five Sisters Window in the North Transept and no doubt would have recalled that 62 years ago to the day she made that first visit to York as its new Duchess to unveil the window.

Her interest and concern for York never waned. In 1988 she gave a Royal cash boost to the Evening Press Lifesaver '88 Appeal with a personal donation for the campaign to provide a £100,000 heart scanner for York District Hospital. The accompanying letter from her Clarence House treasurer shows her caring nature: "The Queen Mother is well aware of the value of scanners and would like to support the appeal.''

In the same year she helped in the fight to save Brackenhill Old People's Home from closure by sending a letter to York City Council, which was then passed to North Yorkshire Social Services Committee. She had already sent two letters to staff and residents of the home expressing sympathy with the 14 elderly residents. Brackenhill survived the threat, though was finally closed in the summer of 1989.

In April 1990, she took a personal interest in the fight to save from closure Woodfield House old people's home in Bilton, near Harrogate. An 88-year-old resident, Mrs Kathleen Glasby, wrote to the Queen Mother asking for help. She received a reply from her treasurer which said: "Queen Elizabeth can well understand the anxiety you must feel over the plans to close Woodfield House.

"Her Majesty does not of course know the circumstances which have led to this proposal and has bidden me to write to the council to find out.''

The Queen Mother has maintained her links with York and North Yorkshire throughout her life. The county, in return, has great affection for this former Duchess of York.

PICTURE: The Queen Mother visits York in 1960 to mark the re-opening of the Guildhall