THE Roker Roar rang out as “a radiant” Princess Diana made her first visit to Tyne & Wear on 21 MAY 1985 in the company of her husband Prince Charles.
“The Prince and Princess of Wales won’t forget the warmth of their Wearside welcome in a hurry,” reported the Echo on May 22.
Prince Charles is greeted above by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Norman Stockdale.
“Despite the chilly weather, there was a carnival atmosphere as young and old alike thronged the route – cheering, waving and pushing with excitement to see their Royal favourite.” Diana’s first visit to Wearside included a whistle-stop tour of Houghton-le-Spring where at 50 Newbottle St. the Princess opened the store, “Bridal Elegance,” and then the Philadelphia Craft Workshops at Philadelphia, the opening of the Community Care Alarm System, Sunderland and subsequent luncheon at the Sunderland Civic Centre and finally, the Wear Co-operative Housing Services Ltd., including the Peel Street & St Vincent Street Co-operative Housing in Hendon – with cheering crowds greeting her at every venue!
“The Royal walkabout: The Princess in her red Jan VanVelden walking coat, seen above, was the highlight of the tour. Prince Charles and Princess Diana took every opportunity to stop and chat, often falling behind schedule to do so,” reported the Echo.
The “People’s Princess” was to make several return trips to the North East before her death in 1997, with a visit to Age Concern at Durham drawing the crowds in September 1987, below.
Thousands flocked to welcome the Princess to Peterlee in 1983 too, when she opened the Fisher Price Toy Factory,
And, in September 1993, she spent time with the patients of St Benedict’s Hospice in Sunderland, seen below.
At the end of the May 21, 1985 visit, the Princess went alone to St. Paul’s Jarrow Development Trust at St. Paul’s Church, to mark the 1300th celebration of St. Paul’s Church in Jarrow, South Tyneside, seen below in these rare photos!
“She draws a smile wherever she goes,” reported the Echo. “People are always delighted to welcome her to Wearside, as she takes such a genuine interest in all she has come to see.” May 1985 marked Princess Diana’s first trip to Wearside, and Wearsiders have traditionally held a very soft spot for her, always providing a warm welcome during official visits to the city,” said Echo editor Rob Lawson.
Princess Diana, again meeting the crowds on Moseley Street, Newcastle, above, on 22 May 1986
May 18, 1983: Princess Diana, above, opens the new Redyuf Road Bridge over the Tyne linking Newcastle and Gateshead, and later, below, she visits a new Findus frozen food factory.