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The Queen makes poignant visit to Woolwich barracks

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The Queen made a poignant visit to Woolwich barracks on Friday morning to pay tribute to murdered soldier Drummer Lee Rigby, who was tragically murdered last week. The 87-year-old monarch was due to meet officers and soldiers associated with 25-year-old Drummer Rigby, who was stationed at the South London barracks, at the end of her visit.

Her Majesty's engagement was a long standing commitment and she would be privately acknowledging the events of last week, according to a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman. A sea of flowers line the railings of the entrance to the base, honouring the soldier and dad-of-one who lost his life in a horrific attack nine days before her visit. The Queen, who was dressed in mint green, was expected to speak to Drummer Rigby's fellow servicemen and women in the Sergeants' mess at the King's Troop base.

 Her visit also included presenting two Afghanistan medals and meeting families of the unit's staff. Her tour of the base of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery is particularly personal to the great-grandmother-to-be as it is the ceremonial military unit responsible for firing gun salutes in her honour. She was greeted by the commanding officer of the King's Troop, Major Mark Edward, and a rare sight — a mounted guard of honour. The horse-loving head of the monarchy was in her element as she greeted the horses.

She watched a gun team display in the riding school and met more of the base's soldiers. More equine entertainment was laid on for her as she watched horses being shod, met the master farrier and toured the veterinary clinic to view horses undergoing treatment. Afterwards she was due to enjoy a private lunch in the Sergeants' mess. On Monday, the King's Troop will fire a 41-gun salute from Green Park to mark the 60th anniversary of her coronation. The capital is gearing up for several days of festivities, including a special service at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday. Her Majesty – who will be joined by her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and pregnant Kate Middleton and Prince Harry – will listen to an address by the Archbishop of Canterbury and a reading by Prime Minister David Cameron. It may well be the last public appearance that the Duchess of Cambridge makes before the birth of her baby – due in July – as she had planned to suspend royal duties from mid-June until after the baby’s birth. On Thursday, the Queen hosted the second of her series of summer garden parties and her husband Prince Philip, their son Prince Andrew and daughter Princess Anne, and granddaughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

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