Queen Elizabeth Opens BBC Central London HQ

 Max Nash/AFP/Getty Images

LONDON --  The BBC's rebuilt Broadcasting House in central London garnered a royal seal of approval with a visit and an official opening ceremony by Queen Elizabeth II.

The visit from the reigning British monarch was carried live on the public broadcaster on its website and the BBC's radio and TV offerings.

The Queen was introduced to a host of BBC luminaries across its services on the visit escorted by BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten and BBC director general Tony Hall.

The Queen took part in a live global broadcast from the BBC Radio 4 studio airing on that channel, the BBC news channel and the BBC Worldwide service.

She said she was struck by the "sheer pace of change" that has engulfed the BBC since her own coronation in 1953.

The program aired an extract from the Queen's first visit to the BBC as a princess almost 75 years ago.

The Queen has visited Broadcasting House on five previous occasions, but those were all before the BBC's extensive project to overhaul, modernize and expand the building to accommodate staff being moved from Television Centre, which closed in March.

The building is now home to nine radio networks, three 24-hour TV news channels, all the BBC's main news bulletins and is the workplace for 6,000 BBC staff from the BBC's television, radio, news and online services.

Her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, had also been expected to attend but was admitted to the hospital on Thursday for an operation.

The Queen's visit attracted crowds outside the central London location while a slew of BBC staff lined up to applaud her visit.

Her tour included a visit to BBC Radio One's famous Live Lounge to watch a live performance by The Script, whose lead singer is Danny O'Donoghue, a judge on BBC One show The Voice.

Her visit was also picked up on other rival broadcasters and news organizations, including commercial web ITN, but many -- such as Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB satellite operation's Sky News -- focused efforts on the story about the Duke of Edinburgh's admission to the hospital rather than the Queen's BBC tour. 

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