Crowds of students gathered when the Princess Royal gave Huddersfield University the red carpet treatment.

Princess Anne travelled across the country to visit the university to mark the official opening of its £22.5m student central building.

Hundreds of people patiently waited in the bitter cold to catch a glimpse of the royal, who arrived flanked by a police motorcade.

She met several dignitaries from the town and university, including vice chancellor Bob Cryan, the new Bishop of Huddersfield Rt Rev Jonathan Gibbs and Kirklees mayor Ken Smith, who welcomed her to the new look five storey hub, which is used by students to study, relax and eat.

 

Princess Anne was then led on a guided tour which took in the atrium and the textile department which is located on an upper floor.

Around one dozen students whose work was on display in the room were treated to one-to-one conversations with Princess Anne, who asked them about their projects.

One student, 22-year-old Danielle Souter, said: “It was really exciting, if a bit nerve wracking at first.

“She talked to me about my project which is based on the fishing heritage village in Grimsby and she had been there and been to the museum so she knew quite a lot about it.”

Equally impressed was final year textile crafts and art student April Lyon, 21, who said: “She talked to all of us for a while about their projects and talked to me about my community craft project in Bradford, where I and others gave new life to sleeping bags left over from festivals to give to those in need.”

Princess Anne then met with more members of student central staff, university leaders and the student union president, Josh Elderfield, before she unveiled a plaque in front of an audience.

HRH The Princess Royal visits the University of Huddersfield.
 

Commenting on the building, she said: “It’s remarkable.

“It’s a really good example of what can be achieved by understanding students and the way you need to work together as a team.

“It is building on strengths with what was here in Huddersfield before and, hopefully, it will take you a long way.”

The new building has a sports hall that can seat up to 800 people and can be turned into an exam room or meeting venue.

There is also a fully-equipped fitness suite with views of the canal, squash courts and a dance studio.

The Students’ Union has a floor but no longer has a bar. All catering has been taken over by the university.

Kirklees Mayor Ken Smith said: “For her to come is such a privilege and will help reinforce the good work that the university does for the town.”