YORK was decorated with thousands of white roses for Yorkshire's biggest royal event in living memory. On June 8, 1961, Katharine Worsley from Hovingham Hall married the Duke of Kent in the Minster.

The first royal wedding in York since 1328 was a magnificent occasion. Most of the Royal Family attended, headed by the Queen. She kept in the background "as much as can be permitted to a Queen - lest she draw the spotlight away from the Commoner who has married her cousin," reported the Yorkshire Evening Press on the wedding day itself.

The royal party had arrived at York Station at 1.45pm, 45 minutes before the start of the ceremony. Huge crowds gathered outside the railway station, near the Minster and on the route in between.

"Excitement among the watching crowds swelled as the royal guests began leaving the station and driving away to the Minster," the Press reported.

"Special cheers were raised by the Princess Royal - by marriage and residence a Yorkshirewoman - for Princess Margaret and her husband Mr Anthony Armstrong-Jones, and for the Queen Mother who, with Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain, was among the last to leave the train.

"Then the cheers were doubled as the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles appeared.

"While the Duke and the Prince of Wales looked on, the Queen walked from the station to the Tea Room Square where she inspected a Guard Of Honour of the Green Howards (Alexandra, Prince of Wales's Own Regt) under the command of Capt RN Mander, before leaving for the Minster."

Princess Anne was a bridesmaid and an 18-year-old Prince Michael of Kent was best man.

The bride herself was dazzling in a gown with a train dozens of yards long. As she alighted from the car outside of the West Door of the Minster, the crowd cheered and the sun shone. By the time she was inside, it was hailing.

She joined the Duke, dressed in smart regimental scarlet and blue, at the altar. They were married by the Archbishop of York, Dr Michael Ram-sey. For royalists, there was never a day like it. They camped out on York's pavements overnight to ensure the best view of the regal visitors.

The day was planned with military precision by the police and the council. Not everything went to plan, however.

A catering firm had brought a modern food automat - the only one of its kind in the country - to Museum Gardens to keep everyone fed and watered. But it was out of bounds after 10pm, when the gates were locked. "I had no orders to keep the gardens open so I closed them at ten o'clock," the park keeper told the Press.

A clearly irritated catering firm boss said he had advertised an all-night service. "But at ten o'clock, despite the fact that the police were present to control any undue rowdyism, the gates were closed. People were rattling on the railings trying to get in for coffee."

Four years later, the Queen was back in York to see the city's new university. It had only been open two years when the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh toured the Heslington campus in October 1965.

It was a misty autumn day, and the fog later caused the royal flight to be cancelled; instead the royal party left York by train. But the damp weather did not deter the crowd which was six deep in places.

At the Guildhall, the Queen and the Duke were introduced to York's oldest resident, 104-year-old Emily Landen. Prince Philip was "very cheery", she commented afterwards.

Meanwhile, it was a very successful day for young entrepreneur Janice Lamplough. The ten-year-old was selling Union Jacks for 3d on the university approach.

Janice was a pupil at Derwent Junior School.

"But it's all right for me to be away," she explained. "Doctor said I could, because I've got nettle rash."

The Queen was also in North Yorkshire in 1969, for the annual Maundy Service. It was held at Selby Abbey that April.

Updated: 16:20 Tuesday, May 28, 2002