Zoo marks Queen’s 90th with look back on decades of shared history

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Ninety years ago, HRH Queen Elizabeth II arrived in the world on April 21 just as Drusillas Park was starting out having opened its doors one year earlier in 1925.

To mark The Queen’s 90th birthday, staff at the park took a look back at some of the highlights that have shaped these two national treasures during their nine decades of shared history.

The 1920s: By the time the Queen was born, Drusillas Park was operating as a small tea rooms named after the founder, Captain Douglas Ann’s first wife, Drusilla. Competition was growing so Captain Ann introduced a baby zoo and charged customers sixpence to visit.

The 1930s: While a young Princess Elizabeth was receiving her education, Drusillas tea garden was well established. It held courses in the running of a tea room and a 9.5” narrow gauge steam train was also introduced.

The 1940s: During the war, the animals were rehomed but the tea rooms remained open for business despite doodlebug and bombing attacks. Princess Elizabeth trained as a mechanic and military truck driver, before marrying Philip in 1947.

The 1950s: On June 2, 1953 the Queen was crowned at Westminster Abbey. Drusillas continued to flourish until a devastating fire swept through the tea rooms in April 1954.

The 1960s: By the late 1960s, the animals had become the main reason to visit Drusillas and cream teas were an added bonus. The Queen’s family also grew bigger with the arrival of Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.

The 1970s: The Queen celebrated her Silver Jubilee in 1977. Drusillas made a break-through in terms of education at this time as the county council encouraged schools to visit the zoo.

The 1980s: In 1981, the Queen’s eldest son, Prince Charles married Lady Diana. Drusillas Park was also celebrating when the beaver enclosure and the World of Owls were voted the best new zoo exhibits in the UK.

The 1990s: In 1992, the Queen’s private home was damaged when a fire swept through Windsor Castle. Drusillas remained in the Ann family until 1997, when it was acquired by Laurence and Christine Smith.

The 2000s to today: In 2015, the Queen became our longest serving monarch as Drusillas Park celebrated its 90 year anniversary.

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