Princess Anne unveils new 'national treasure' Jubilee table in Ely

Princess Anne unveils the Fenland Black Oak Table, made from a 5,000-year-old tree unearthed in Southery, Norfolk, in 2012

Princess Anne unveils the Fenland Black Oak Table, a 13m-long table made from a 5,000-year-old tree unearthed in Southery, Norfolk, in 2012 - Credit: Keith Heppell

The Princess Royal has unveiled the Fenland Black Oak table - a 13m-long piece of furniture made from a 5,000-year-old fossilised tree.

Princess Anne toured Cambridgeshire yesterday (Tuesday, May 17), taking in Wisbech, Peterborough and Ely.

Princess Anne in Ely Cathedral

Princess Anne in Ely Cathedral - Credit: Keith Heppell

Princess Anne meets Julie Spence, Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, in Wisbech

Princess Anne meets Julie Spence, Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, in Wisbech - Credit: Wisbech Tweet

As part of her visit, she met the team behind the Fenland Black Oak Project at Ely Cathedral, where she unveiled the table to mark The Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

The wood used in the table was uncovered in Southery, Norfolk, in 2012, the year when Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee.

Princess Anne takes in the Fenland Black Oak Project table, followed by project leader Hamish Low

Princess Anne takes in the Fenland Black Oak Project table, followed by project leader Hamish Low - Credit: Keith Heppell

Princess Anne on her visit to Ely Cathedral

Princess Anne on her visit to Ely Cathedral - Credit: Keith Heppell

Hamish Low, who led the project to transform the fossilised oak into a table, said the artefact is a "national treasure".

Princess Anne at the head of the Fenland Black Oak table

Princess Anne at the head of the Fenland Black Oak table - Credit: Keith Heppell

Princess Anne with dignitaries at Ely Cathedral

Princess Anne with dignitaries at Ely Cathedral - Credit: Keith Heppell

He said in 2019: "Nothing could have prepared us for what this astonishing tree would reveal - 10 magnificent sequential boards unlike anything seen before.

"We extracted a staggering 397 gallons of water from these 10 ancient boards and reduced their weight by 1.6 tons.

"They are breathtakingly beautiful and without doubt a national treasure. Their like will never be seen again."

At Ely Cathedral, Princess Anne met with project leaders and Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely.

The Princess Royal arrived in Wisbech by helicopter on Tuesday morning.

Princess Anne and Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire Julie Spence meet dignitaries in Wisbech

Princess Anne and Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire Julie Spence meet dignitaries in Wisbech - Credit: Wisbech Tweet

Town Clerk Terry Jordan and Mayor of Wisbech Councillor Andy Lynn await HRH The Princess Royal's arrival in Cambridgeshire

Town Clerk Terry Jordan and Mayor of Wisbech Councillor Andy Lynn await HRH The Princess Royal's arrival in Cambridgeshire - Credit: Wisbech Tweet

She met with Julie Spence, Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, in the town before visiting the new Rural Cambridgeshire Citizens Advice Bureau at Wisbech's Queen Mary Centre.

Most Read

The new centre was created to provide advice - including money, work and consumer guidance - to people facing hardship in and around the town.

Princess Anne at Ely Cathedral with Hamish Low, the Fenland Black Oak Project leader

Princess Anne at Ely Cathedral with Hamish Low, the Fenland Black Oak Project leader - Credit: Keith Heppell

Princess Anne meets Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely, on her visit to Cambridgeshire

Princess Anne meets Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely, on her visit to Cambridgeshire - Credit: Keith Heppell

Princess Anne also visited the ReadEasy charity, Peterborough branch.

The charity teaches adults to read.

Chris Campling, ReadEasy Peterborough co-ordinator, said: "It was an honour to meet Princess Anne.

"She was so impressive - she spent a lot of time with volunteer coaches and readers, and asked pertinent questions.

"Princess Anne was genuinely interested in the work we do."

Chris added: "It's important to remember that not all adults had the opportunity to learn to read - and that makes it difficult to follow road signs or shop at the supermarket.

"We had one reader recently who had a collection of Nigella cookbooks, but couldn't read them.

"She visited us, and now her cookery is making progress, too."

Princess Anne's visit comes just weeks before The Queen's Platinum Jubilee weekend, which runs from Thursday, June 2 until Sunday, June 5.