The Queen was today reunited with a survivor of the 7/7 underground attacks during her visit to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.
She first met Chris Lait, 39, a dancer, during a hospital visit the day after the 2005 terrorist bombings. He was being treated as a patient there for injuries sustained from the Aldgate tube blast, which killed 42 people.
Lait was invited with his dance partner Crystal Yelland, who was with him on the train during the attack, to meet the royal couple.
“I said that I looked a bit different to the last time she saw me,” he said after their meeting.
“She said: ‘Yes, I remember. You look a lot better now’.”
Lait is now partially deaf due to injuries from the bombings, and although he ended his professional dancing career after the attacks, he now works as a dance instructor and is married with two children.
He said of the Queen in 2005: “She asked me personal questions about how I felt and how things were going. I felt that she cared.”
She visited the Royal Hosptial with Prince Philip today to officially open the new facilities, including the children’s hospital and the renal centre. The pair then went on to visit the centre for bowel research at Queen Mary university.
ELL LIVE BLOG: Queen visits Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel
The Queen will today visit east London to officially open the new Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel Road. She will be accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh and the pair will go on to visit the new National Centre for Bowel Research and Surgical Innovation based at Queen Mary university in Newark street.
Large crowds are expected to greet the royals outside the hospital in Stepney Way, who have always received a warm welcome from the east end. Read more about the Queen’s visit here.
The excitement has died down and business returns to usual at the Royal London Hospital. This now concludes our live blog, thank you for joining us.
Today the Queen and Prince Philip visited with staff and young patients in the children’s play area of the hospital, after being introduced by Tower Hamlets council speaker Rajib Ahmed, the East London Advertiser reported.
Visiting the National Bower Cancer Research Centre at Queen Mary university later today, the royals will unveil a plaque and tour the new facilities.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have left the hospital the same way they entered, via the Stepney Way entrance. The crowd dispersed immediately after The Queen was driven away in her car.
The Queen has left the hospital with a bouquet of white flowers in hand. She was once again greeted with cheers from a crowd of 150 people. She looked around and waved at them briefly before getting into her car and being driven away.
Shajan, 40, said she has seen the royals “quite a few times”, including Prince William and Prince Charles. She said: “I’m a big fan of the royals.”
The Queen and the Duke are currently inside the hospital. Ross Lydall of the Evening Standard reported via Twitter that the Queen will be reunited with Bruce Lait, a professional dancer who was a victim of the 2005 London terrorist attacks. She met him for the first time the day after the July 7 attacks.
The Queen arrived wearing a spring-inspired lavender coat with a matching hat.
The Queen and the Duke have arrived at the hospital to enthusiastic cheers from the crowd. They are inside the hospital now.
Lai, 21, from Malaysia, an international student at Queen Mary University, said of the lack of crowds to greet the Queen: “No one knows about it, that’s the problem. You can never get close to the Queen without waiting hours and hours. Since it’s so near and I won’t have to wait long, this is the perfect opportunity for me!”
A small team of photographers have gathered to catch the Queen outside the hospital in Stepney Way. They do not expect a large crowd, they said. “If they were coming, they would have been here by now.”
Police have started to put barriers up, saying the Queen is due to arrive “about 11 ish”. When asked if a large crowd was expected, they said: “We’ll see when the Queen arrives!”
Members of the press and police have gathered outside the hospital’s main entrance on Whitechapel Road.
The Queen’s first visit to the hospital was in 1954. Sir Stephen O’Brien, chairman of the trust said they are “thrilled” to see her return today as she officially opens the hospital and tours its new facilities, and she is sure to receive a “warm, east end welcome.”
The royals party will tour children’s hospital and renal dialysis ward, and will also meet former patients who received treatment for their injuries when the Queen visited the former Royal London Hospital following the London terrorist attacks July 2005.
Good morning and thank you for joining us as we live blog the Queen’s visit to Whitechapel today. She is expected to open the hospital at 11:00. ELL’s Chris Dillon and Nazim Ahmad are standing by to report all of the latest developments.