The little Hartlepool girl who took a meeting with Royalty in her stride

When you're seven years old, it's a very big thing to meet a princess.

Wednesday, 1st June 2016, 10:00 am
The Princess accepts the flowers from Laura.

But Laura Tuson was going to do just that, and go one step further.

It happened 46 years ago this week and Chris Cordner explained more.

Laura Tuson

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It’s not that often that a real-life princess comes to town.

Princess Anne did in May 1970 when she visited Hartlepool.

Who would officially present her with a bouquet of flowers? The answer was seven-year-old Laura Tuson who took the whole thing in her stride. When calmly questioned about it by a Northern Daily Mail reporter, she said: “Yes I know.”And then added: “I think it will be nice.”

Our report at the time said: “She did not seem nervous or anxious at the prospect of presenting the princess with flowers.”

Laura Tuson

In the days before the big appointment, she learned how to curtsey and was fitted with a brand new yellow dress. And when the big day arrived, she did it in such style that it brought big smiles from the civic dignitaries.

Laura, a pupil of St Teresa’s Junior School, was praised in our report at the time for “the charming manner in which the presentation was made.”

Who remembers the big day and the little girl who stole the show. Were you there? Did you play your own important role?

There were plenty of other highlights. Thousands of people lined the routes into town for the princess who opened both the new £5m shopping centre and the college of art.

Our report said: “From her arrival on the outskirts of town throughout her stay up to her departure, the people of Hartlepool left no doubt of the warmness of their welcome for the young princess.”

She arrived at Teesside Airport, was welomed by the Deputy Lieutenant of Durham Lord Barnard, and made her way to town in a motor cavalcade via Wolviston, Stockton Road and York Road. There were huge crowds at places such as Sappers Corner. Shop workers got onto balconies in York Road to get a better view

She arrived at the Grand Hotel, was welcomed by Ald Rene Tuson, and received the bouquet from Rene’s granddaughter Laura.

Town clerk Eric Waggott - the man who had organised much of the visit - met the princess as did Ald T Andrews and Clifford Culpin and their wives.

Then, she headed to the shopping centre to formally open it and take a walk up the ramp before leaving via the Stockton Street entrance to go to the college and officially open that as well.

Give us your memories of the big day.