PRINCESS Anne, The Princess Royal, is coming to Colchester.

The daughter of Queen Elizabeth II will be given a Royal preview of the Colchester Castle refurbishment on March 20, according to the official Royal diary.

She will also be visiting Kent Blaxill as part of their 175th Anniversary celebrations.

Princess Anne last visited north Essex in July last year and Colchester in 2011.

She will be unveiling a plaque during her tour of the castle.

Tim Young, councillor responsible for culture, said: “It is an honour for the borough to have the Princess Royal visiting to show her the refurbishment of the castle.

“And Kent Blaxill is one of our best and longest serving employers who provide a great service and deserve the recognition this will bring.”

Managing director Simon Blaxill added: “We are very excited to hear that Princess Anne is coming to visit Kent Blaxill in recognition of 175 years of trading in Colchester, when she comes to the town.

“It seems particularly appropriate that she will be visiting the castle, next to which Kent Blaxll was founded in 1838."

Colchester Castle will officially reopen, following a £4.2million refit, on May 2.

The castle has been closed since early last year while the work, funded by the lottery, European Union, Colchester Council, Arts Council and local groups, took place.

New attractions will include a virtual chariot race, an exhibition on the Druid of Colchester and films projected on a wall.

Underfloor heating has been put in, the castle has been carpeted and the toilets have been refurbished.

The lift has been moved to allow all visitors to take the same route around the building.

The re-opening will also be celebrated on June 7 with a modern day chariot race and a Battle of the Ages event.

John Kent opened the doors of his paintshop on Colchester High Street in 1838.

Soon after launching, he added glass installation to his stock in trade.
By the early 20th century, the firm had become part of the fabric of Essex business life. Its status was cemented by Queen Mary’s visit on its 100th anniversary.

Its headquarters are now in Layer Road.