Her Majesty The Queen has visited Norwich today for a tour of the Sainsbury Centre’s ‘Fiji: Art and Life in the Pacific’ exhibition at the University of East Anglia. The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts is a department of the University.
Wearing a bright pink coat, and a matching pink and black hat, The Queen arrived by Range Rover and was greeted by Fijian drummers. The Queen also met the Vice-Chancellor of the UEA, Professor David Richardson and the Fiji High Commissioner to the UK, H.E. Mr. Jitoko Tikolevu in addition to several representatives of the Sainsbury Centre.
Although His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh was expected to attend, he was not present. It is not understood why Prince Philip did not accompany The Queen. In place of The Duke, a lady arrived with The Queen; probably one of her ladies in waiting.
Inside the exhibition, The Queen saw a new traditional Fijian sailing canoe which was used in the celebrations for Her Majesty’s 90th birthday at Windsor. The Queen also looked at the ceremonial tabua (whale tooth) which was given to Her Majesty in 1953 when she first visited Fiji. She also met Fijian students studying at the UEA and volunteers and staff at the Sainsbury Centre before unveiling a plaque to mark the visit.
The Fiji exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre is the largest display of Fijian artefacts ever assembled in the UK with 280 sculptures, textiles, ceramics, ornaments, bowls, weapons and clothing on loan from museums across the kingdom, including the Royal Collection.
As The Queen’s car arrived, the previously overcast sky broke and sunlight managed to shine down on the 90 year old monarch. Her Majesty received a bunch of flowers from a schoolgirl and was cheered by crowds of children. Although not a engagement in which The Queen met members of the public, hundreds of well-wishers turned out to welcome their sovereign, showing the great affection people have for The Queen.