Diamond Jubilee: Queen ends first day in Merthyr

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Media captionThe Queen's tour of Wales will continue on Friday

The Queen has ended the first day of her Diamond Jubilee tour of Wales by visiting Merthyr Tydfil.

She and the Duke of Edinburgh started the day in Cardiff after arriving at central station on the royal train.

Following a service of thanksgiving at Llandaff Cathedral, they travelled to Margam Park, where they met Wales' Grand Slam-winning team .

Meanwhile, police said two men were arrested in separate incidents in Merthyr during the Queen's visit there.

One man was arrested after he attempted to gain access to a section of road which was closed to the public as part of the royal visit and is currently being questioned by police.

Another man was was arrested to prevent a breach of the peace outside Cyfarthfa Castle grounds.

The castle and Cyfarthfa High School were the two places the Queen visited after arriving on the royal helicopter on Thursday afternoon.

Image caption Designer Julien MacDonald said the Queen looked 'absolutely incredible'

At the castle, the Queen met the Merthyr-born designer Julien MacDonald who told BBC Wales she "looked absolutely incredible".

It was not the first time the 41-year-old had met the Queen, as he has been awarded the OBE for his services to fashion.

"It was a magical moment meeting the Queen," he said.

"She entered the room and I think she was honoured to see all the school children, thousands of children, who'd come especially to see her today.

"She asked me: 'Julien, did you attend the school?' And I said actually I did. I said I am a former pupil and I had a fantastic time here.

"She said it must have been incredible going to school in a castle and I said that I didn't live in a castle like you but at least I went to school in one."


The Queen's white and silver outfit was also a hit with the designer.

"She definitely gets the seal of approval from me," he added. "She was wearing a fabulous two-piece... she had a bit of sparkle for Wales and she had matching gloves and shoes and one of her famous hats.

"She looked absolutely incredible."

At the museum, the Queen also saw the first steam whistle, the first voting ballot box and dresses by designers Laura Ashley and Mr McDonald.

A teenage performer headed for a top stage school, was the envy of his classmates after serenading the Queen.

Tom Hier, 18, sang to the Her Majesty and the duke while at the school.

'Incredibly nervous'

The guitarist performed a song from hit film The Wedding Singer with fellow school friend Sophie Davies called I Wanna Grow Old With You.

Tom said: "I was incredibly nervous before the performance. It just seemed so surreal with Sophie and me singing to the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.

The teenager is set to study musical theatre at Guildford School of Acting next year.

"It was such an amazing honour for both of us. I'm still really lost for words," he added.

The royal party viewed displays by the local mountain rescue team, Merthyr scouts and the Forestry Commission.

Earlier, more than 600 people attended the service of thanksgiving at Llandaff Cathedral, where the Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan praised the Queen's commitment to public life.

A crowd of hundreds, including schoolchildren waving flags, cheered as she arrived in Llandaff.

The royal party then travelled to Margam Park where she met members of the team who won a third Grand Slam in eight years.

Centre Jonathan Davies said the Queen told him rugby looked rough on the TV.

"I reassured her it wasn't too bad," he said.

"It was a huge honour to meet her."

Her two-day tour of Wales is part of the Queen's UK-wide tour, which began in March.

On Friday the Queen will visit Aberfan, Ebbw Vale and Glanusk Park, Crickhowell.

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