Essex: Queen told ‘The only way is Essex’

The Bishop of Chelmsford joked with Her Majesty about the famous reality TV show during her tour of the county.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh attended a service in Chelmsford Cathedral this morning as part of centenary celebrations for the Chelmsford Diocese. The Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell joked about The Only Way is Essex, famed for its nightclub-loving stars as he listed the qualities of his district.

Hundreds gathered at Chelmsford’s cathedral church of St Mary the Virgin, St Peter and St Cedd to welcome the royal couple, whose arrival was proclaimed by a town crier.

The Bishop of Chelmsford said in his address: “The Diocese of Chelmsford is one hundred years old this year.

“Created to solve the pressing challenge of massive population growth and urbanisation in east London we are, as one experienced priest put it: ‘the most complicated and diverse diocese in the English Church’.

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“We serve the most rural, the most urban, the most coastal, and I wish to add, the most glorious diocese in the Church of England. You name it; here in the Diocese of Chelmsford, we’ve got it.

“Yes, you could even say, the only way is Essex, but I want to tell you about a better way and its roots in this old county - the way of Jesus Christ.”

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Afterwards, the Queen and Prince Phillip visited Felsted School as part of its 450th anniversary celebrations.

The royal couple enjoyed lunch at the school that celebrated its 400th anniversary with the Queen Mother in 1964 before touring a small exhibition about the school and saw the Foundation deed and covenant Lord Riche signed establishing a free school in the Essex village of Felsted.

Looking at the large document, the Queen said: “Hasn’t it survived well?”

They also saw a group of younger children from Felsted’s prep school dressed in costumes for a pageant that will parade through the village to mark the anniversary.

They were dressed as characters charting historic developments from the past four-and-a-half centuries, from the Tudors to the Georgians and on to the Victorians and the modern day.

At the end of the line were two schoolchildren dressed as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their wedding day.

Before leaving, the Queen attended a special school assembly and was given a number of presents, including a bootscraper designed and made by students and staff.

Headmaster Dr Mike Walker said: “I have been referring to this visit as the tale of three Elizabeth’s. The school was founded in 1564, during the reign of Elizabeth I, while The Queen Mother came here 50 years ago - and now of course we have the outstanding honour for the school of the reigning Monarch visiting.

“When I pointed this out to the Queen at lunch she burst out laughing. They were very relaxed, informal, and absolutely lovely.

“This visit means so much to everyone here. I am overwhelmingly proud to have been Headmaster at such an incredible event.”

Head boy Sam Seacombe added: “It was awe-inspiring to sit that close to one of the longest reigning monarchs, and talk to someone with such a depth of experience. It will be difficult to beat this moment.”

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