WELL-WISHERS who lined the street in their hundreds were rewarded by a very intimate royal visit in Watchet today (September 20).

Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, arrived by helicopter before being driven to West Quay to be greeted by Sea Scouts and Explorers, Guides, Brownies, Rainbows, Scouts, Cubs and Beavers.

She was then introduced by Lady Gass, the Queen’s representative in Somerset, to various people associated with the town, including the High Sheriff Sylvana Chandler and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger.

He said: “This is wonderful for Watchet and really puts the town on the map. We have 900 years of history with the crown.

“The Princess Royal was very complimentary about Watchet and in particular the railway, marina and the way the town looks. We are very grateful that she feels like this.”

The princess was then guided along the pier, where the standard was raised in her honour while Sea Scouts demonstrated their boating skills in the harbour.

Ben Prescott from the town was one of three Sea Scouts chosen to raise the flag and said: “I was a bit nervous about it this morning, but when she got here I was just so excited to be involved. It was really amazing when she walked past.”

George Day added: “It is a lifetime achievement really and I feel very proud to have represented the Sea Scouts like this today.”

Princess Anne unveiled a plaque marking the 150th anniversary of the town’s iconic lighthouse, in her capacity as president of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) which has a base in Watchet.

RYA training centre principal, Simon Bale, said: “She was really interested in what the Sea Scouts were doing. She enjoys sailing herself and she enjoys the youth learning to sail. She was amazed that we sail out at sea.

“I feel very honoured to have been a part of this and hopefully we portrayed Watchet and the Sea Scouts well.”

After a brief stop in the Watchet Market House Museum, Princess Anne then made her way along the town’s Esplanade, via the Coastguard station, Phoenix Centre and a group of Knights Templar pupils who welcomed her with their school song.

People were able to get very close to her at this part of the visit town crier Alec Danby praised the relaxed approach.

He said: “It has gone very well, especially the informality of it all. I think it’s absolutely splendid. There has been a tremendous atmosphere and that typical Watchet friendliness.”

The Princess Royal also visited the railway station where she met the station master and volunteers in Victorian dress and the Boat Museum before concluding her visit by officially naming the new Scouts’ safety boat ‘Jubilee’.