Friday 19 January 2018

Paris market renamed after Queen

Many things have been named in honour of the Queen but she has been given the unusual tribute of having a Parisian flower market dedicated to her memory.

Parisians turned out to watch as their famous attraction in the heart of the capital city was renamed Marche aux Fleurs - Reine Elizabeth II.

The market, which has been selling blooms since 1808, is a stone's throw from the Conciergerie, an ancient prison now part of the city's law courts, where Marie Antoinette was held before she was guillotined in 1793.

Some French politicians have objected to the ceremony but the sentiment among the spectators was in favour of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, whose three-day state visit to France ended today.

Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, who was joined by president Francois Hollande, told the Queen that renaming the market was "a great honour, it reflects the enormous affection of Parisians".

Yesterday, on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, the Queen spoke of her pride at the courage of the Allied forces who invaded Europe on June 6, 1944 - but warned peace and prosperity can never be taken for granted.

With her thoughts on the commemoration events that were held at Normandy and attended by the Queen and president Hollande, the mayor praised Britain for "liberating our people".

During the unveiling of the new sign for the flower market there was a minor mishap when the cloth covering the name-plate fell on the Queen's arm as she pulled it free.

Flower seller Fabien Couture, 42, said: "It's a marvellous event for us, we are used to famous customers but she is the most famous.

"This market is centuries old and our customers are everyone from aristocratic families to famous people like Catherine Deneuve and ordinary people - it's not exclusive, it's for everyone."

The Queen also met a team of charity cyclists who are aiming to raise £1 million for forces' organisation Help for Heroes.

The amateur cyclists, many wounded servicemen, arrived in Paris last night after riding from Brussels en-route to London.

Help for Heroes co-founder Bryn Parry told the Queen that they had reached the fundraising milestone of £200 million since the charity was started in October 2007.

He said: "I was able to tell her about reaching the £200 million mark since we started and she said congratulations to everybody involved.

"It's a surreal feeling, a wonderful sense of unreality, we can't take it in, really, it's an enormous figure. Every penny is accounted for and allocated.

"When we reached the total of £5 million we thought it would stop there but now we need to find another £278 million to support the projects we've already got going."

Following the tour of the market, the Queen met the Help for Heroes fundraising riders in a nearby square.

The Queen usually has the knack of keeping away wet weather and the showers that had drenched spectators before the visit cleared a few minutes before the royal party arrived.

Mr Hollande is known for having the opposite effect and towards the end of the visit the heavens opened.

He stepped in to help the Queen when she had a little difficulty opening her see-through Fulton umbrella and he held it for her for a few moments.

At the end of the visit, the Queen flew back to the UK and later is expected to take her place in the royal box for the Epsom Derby.

Press Association

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