Queen's wedding visit at Manchester Town Hall 'the best present'

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A newly-wed couple who met the Queen when she unexpectedly dropped in at their wedding have said it was "one of the best presents you could wish for".

John and Frances Canning were married at Manchester Town Hall on Friday, as the Queen and Prince Phillip were at a lunch, hosted by the lord mayor.

The Queen was touring the city as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Mr Canning said it was "just phenomenal" and "one of the most memorable moments of my life".

'Tongue in cheek'

The couple only found out the Queen would be at the town hall after they had booked it as their wedding venue.

Mrs Canning said: "It was a bit scary but lovely.

"She was so nice and gracious.

"She was beautiful a really nice woman, and wished us all the best."

When the couple were told the royal party would be in the building Mr Canning wrote a 'spur of the moment' letter to Buckingham Palace inviting the Queen to drop by if she had a moment.

He said: "I've never ever written a letter to anyone, for any reason.

"It was a bit tongue in cheek in some ways, I thought 'What have we got to lose? If we get a letter back, even better'.

"I put in my letter that I hoped she would have a lovely day in Manchester, all the very best on the Jubilee and if you've got any spare minutes, we're only next door."

A lady in waiting replied thanking him for the invitation and said unfortunately the Queen would not be able to attend, but she wished them all the best for the future.

Mr Canning said: "That made my day, because I thought 'She's read it'.

Image caption,
The wedding was taking place in Manchester Town Hall as the Queen was having lunch there

"I just thought that was the end of the matter.

"After we'd got married, we walked through our guests into the middle room where we were going to spend five minutes together.

"The gentleman from the Town Hall came up and said the Queen had [actually] agreed to meet us.

"Little did we know it had already been arranged a long time before."

'Couldn't buy it'

The Queen was in the city having earlier officially opened the BBC's new base in Salford.

She posed for pictures with Mr and Mrs Canning and congratulated them on their marriage.

Prince Philip asked about their plans for honeymoon in Italy.

Mr Canning said: "It was a lovely present from them to us, one of the best presents you could wish for.

"It was just phenomenal.

"It was something they didn't have to do, you couldn't buy it."

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