A SEA of adoring crowds gave the Queen a truly royal welcome to Huddersfield.
Thousands packed into St George's Square for one of the biggest royal events in the town's history.
And a royal insider said: "This is the warmest welcome we've ever had!"
It was believed to be the biggest crowd for a royal walkabout for 19 years.
The estimated 10,000 crowd, young and old, transformed the sunkissed square into a montage of red, white and blue as they eagerly awaited the arrival of Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh yesterday afternoon.
Pupils from 40 local schools excitedly clutched banners and flowers as they waited for the royal couple to arrive.
People around them proudly sported their Union Jack hats and flags as they basked in the sunshine. Some had been standing in the square for five hours in a bid to bag front row positions.
As the royal convoy came into view on Northumberland Street the noise from the crowd started to build.
First to step out was the duke, welcomed by Kirklees Council leader Clr Robert Light and his wife, Sharon.
Moments later the Queen herself arrived, dressed in a crimson suit and hat, to the screams and cheers of the adoring crowd.
The couple acknowledged the 18-strong guard of honour provided by members of the Huddersfield and District Veterans' Association.
Among them was Tom Parker, of Meltham, who served in the Army's Royal Signals.
Mr Parker, 66, said it was the first time he had seen the Queen. He said: "She's wonderful. I'm very honoured."
The royal party, accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Dr Ingrid Roscoe, then toured the crowds standing behind barriers in the square.
They met Eileen and Maurice Maw, from Hepworth, who welcomed them to Yorkshire.
Mrs Maw said: "We told the duke we had ordered the weather for him and he just smiled and said the sun should come out some of the time.
"The Queen was very nice. We said we were very glad to see her in Yorkshire and I touched her shoulder. She smiled. It was lovely."
Squashed up against the barriers was little Lauren Rose, of Fenay Bridge. The Queen spotted the six-year-old and spoke to her.
Lauren, a pupil of Lepton C of E School, said: "I gave her some flowers and she said I looked a bit squashed. She was very nice."
Cowlersley man Arthur Nicholls was also in the crowd, taking pictures. The 77-year-old said: "It is so nice to see so many people here today."
The duke also stopped and spoke to Honley couple Alex and Jane Woodage after spotting Mr Woodage's serviceman's badge.
Mr Woodage, 73, who served in the RAF's bomb disposal unit from 1952 to 1961, said: "He looked at my badge and asked me what I served in. Then he realised I was Scottish and commented that I wasn't from this part of the country.
"It was an honour to meet him. I'm proud I served my country and I wear this badge with pride."
The couple had been in the square from 10am to make sure they got a good view.
Mrs Woodage said: "We brought chairs and some biscuits to eat while we waited. I have never been this close to her before. It was a privilege to meet her, we were very lucky.
"She has wonderful skin and for her age she looks fantastic."
The royal couple then took their seats on the balcony of a square's marquee for a concert by the Huddersfield Choral Society and the Orchestra of Opera North.
The crowds waved their flags and cheered as The Dambusters March by Eric Coates marked the finale of the performance.
The Queen and duke then went on to the stage to thank the musicians.
Eight-year-old Alice Poppleton, her sister, Holly, five, and Amelia Garbutt, three, curtseyed and presented flowers and gifts.
The royal couple then left the square to continue their busy schedule with a visit to Edinburgh.