The Queen was today presented with framed copies of two Radio Times covers – the first marking her Coronation 60 years ago and the second from an issue this month marking the anniversary. On the back, a design showed 44 Radio Times covers featuring the Queen during her reign.
“I hope you find somewhere on your wall to hang it,” BBC chairman Lord Patten said as he handed it to her - and it seems likely she will. The Queen described the gift as “lovely”.
The presentation marked the finale of a visit by the Queen to formally open the New Broadcasting House facility in central London, an event which some BBC staff feared would be cancelled because of the ill health of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, who is undergoing an exploratory operation.
She formally opened the building with a live broadcast address in which she referred to a visit to the building before the war.
“I was struck then, as I am now, by the sheer pace of change which has transformed your industry over the past 60 years, during which broadcasting has enriched our lives in so many ways," she said.
During her visit she toured the major new extension to the broadcaster's £1bn London headquarters and even listened to a live performance by Voice judge Danny O'Donoghue and his pop group The Script.
The Queen also appeared behind newsreaders Julian Worricker and Sophie Long as they read the news. Staff laughed and broke into a round of applause as she appeared in the background of the studio shot, prompting the presenters to turn round, live on air.
The monarch also apparently revealed that she was a fan of EastEnders, according to the soap's press office, which tweeted: "The Queen is visiting BBC #NewBroadcastingHouse today & we've just heard from the @BBCNews coverage that she's an #EastEnders fan! :)”
On arrival she was greeted with cheers from hundreds of flag-waving well-wishers, who lined the piazza outside Broadcasting House to greet her, with large numbers of BBC staff craning from windows overlooking the area.
“I didn’t know it was bring your Queen to work day,” quipped one as she arrived to whoops of joy from the throng.
Clare Ewing, the BBC radio drama company co-ordinator, told RadioTimes.com: “We all want to be here. We were resisting it for a bit, or some were, but everyone’s delighted to be here. It’s a proud day for the BBC.”
David Man, 40, a web designer for BBC News, added: “It’s not every day you get to see the Queen at your work. I am non-committal about the royal family but I am pleased she is here because I am a big fan of the BBC.”
Mark Tyrrell, also 40 and an engineer for BBC News, told RadioTimes.com: “It’s a unique opportunity to see her in the flesh. There are some people I know who are off today and they are really gutted not to be here.”
For a look at all of the Queen's Radio Times covers over the years, take a look at the gallery below...