It may have been open for just over two months, but the recently refurbished Lincoln Castle was given the royal seal of approval by Princess Anne on her visit to the city.
The Princess Royal was joined by thousands of guests and members of the public to officially celebrate the opening of the attraction on Monday, June 8.
The castle has welcomed tens of thousands of visitors since it was revealed on April 1.
She unveiled a plaque to mark the re-opening of the castle, which has been restored by Lincolnshire County Council at a cost of £22 million, before heading onto the ramparts and enjoying a tour of the Victorian Prison.
The centrepiece of the new-look Lincoln Castle is the purpose-built David P.J. Ross Magna Carta Vault featuring an underground widescreen cinema mapping the story of King John, the barons and the birth of the Great Charter.
It is also the only place in the world where a 1215 copy of the Magna Carta can be seen alongside its sister document, the 1217 Charter of the Forest.
Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Councillor Martin Hill, said: “It’s fantastic to have seen a full house inside the newly refurbished and renovated Lincoln Castle and I’m sure this event will act as a huge boost not only to tourism but also to economic regeneration for Lincolnshire.”
Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development at the county council, added: “This has been a hugely important event which has been 10 years in the making and we’re looking forward to welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city over the next few months.
“This is the final bit of the journey to turn Lincoln into one of the leading small cities in the world and I’m proud to be part of the council that has delivered this.
“It’s also been fantastic to see the thousands of ordinary members of the public who have come. That’s really important as today is Lincolnshire and Lincoln’s day and we want everyone to celebrate it.”
The Princess Royal’s visit served to whet the appetite ahead of the eagerly anticipated Magna Carta Weekend, with a number of events taking place in the city between June 11 and 14.
A new archaeological exhibition featuring the facial reconstruction of an Anglo Scandinavian man was also revealed today inside the Victorian Prison and internationally-renowned poets Carol Ann Duffy, Gillian Clarke and Imtiaz Dharker performed their specially commissioned Magna Carta poems for the first time.
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney said: “It was great to walk in this morning with some of the students from Westgate Academy because it shows that the castle attracts people of all ages and there’s something to do here for young and old.
“People can now walk around the walls completely and there’s obviously the Magna Carta vault but all of these things also tie in now with the other attractions Lincoln has to offer such as The Museum of Lincolnshire Life, The Collection and The Usher Gallery.”
Mayor of Lincoln, Councillor Andrew Kerry, said: “There’s been a lot of hard work and dedication by all the staff that have worked on the Lincoln Castle Revealed project and to have Her Royal Highness open it is the ultimate royal seal of approval.”