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The Queen’s poignant visit on eve of special anniversary

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The Queen has followed in her father’s footsteps as she visited a building on the Sandringham estate, seven decades after King George VI declared the original version open. And her time at Wolferton Pumping Station in Norfolk came just hours before the anniversary of his death and her own accession.

The Pumping Station was designed to allow the marsh in which it sits to be drained, dried out and then farmed. The new version, which has taken 18 months to complete, had been redesigned in a more environmentally friendly way. It’s hoped the changes will offer better conditions for local wildlife.

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The Queen, wrapped up in a coat with cape detailing and a headscarf, met some of those involved in the redesign while she toured the facility which is billed as keeping ‘Norfolk’s feet dry’. She also tried her hand at operating its three pumps.

King George VI opened the original building just over 72 years ago, on February 2nd 1948. He was accompanied by his wife, Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother) and his younger daughter, Princess Margaret. The Queen, who was then a newlywed princess known as the Duchess of Edinburgh, wasn’t with her family for the engagement. Over seventy years later, as she made her own visit, she is the only one of ‘Us Four’ still alive.

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The Queen always marks the day she lost her father and gained his throne in private, spending the time at Sandringham House where George VI passed away in the early hours of February 6th 1952 while she was in Kenya, preparing to represent him on a tour that he had been unable to carry out for health reasons. As the 68th anniversary of that moment approached, Elizabeth II followed where he had once walked in a poignant visit of her own.

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Lydia is a writer, blogger and journalist. She's worked in the media for over twenty years as a broadcast reporter, producer and editor as well as feature and online writer. As well as royals and royal history, she's a news junkie and podcaster.