THE Princess Royal took over the controls of the Twin Sails Bridge on Monday on a whistle-stop tour of Poole’s bridges and boats.

Princess Anne was driven across the new bridge before climbing into the operator’s hot seat and pressing the button to raise the structure’s dramatic leaves.

Crowds of well-wishers who gathered at West Quay Road were left disappointed as the Princess’s cars failed to stop but instead whizzed past them, first towards Hamworthy then on to Poole Quay.

People were lining the street hoping to catch a glimpse of the Princess as she paid a visit to the docked HMS Cattistock.

A laugh went up as a replica of Del Boy’s Trotters Independent Trading van from Only Fools and Horses went past, tooting its horn, before the Princess’s Range Rovers appeared.

Before boarding the naval ship, Princess Anne stopped to accept a posy of flowers from Cade Bailey, aged six.

Cade, from Broadstone, said: “She took the flowers and said ‘Thank you very much’.”

Mum Michelle Bailey said: “We weren’t expecting her to stop.

“I went and got Cade from school and brought him down because it was a nice day.”

Some people climbed the Quay’s sculpture to get a better view of the deck, where six Broadstone First School pupils who had won a competition for designing and making a bridge of their own were showing it to Princess Anne.

Julie Ashmeade-Crane’s eight-year-old daughter, Sarah, was the project leader.

Julie, who was on the quayside, said: “We could see the children explaining to Princess Anne how their model raised.

“Hopefully, theirs is more reliable than the Twin Sails. Sarah’s really enjoyed the project and was really excited.”

The Lord Lieutenant of Dorset, Mrs Anthony Pitt- Rivers, Poole’s mayor and deputy mayor, and Conor Burns MP also attended.

Lily Easthope, 75, and Joyce Clark, 71, from Broadstone, had been waiting for hours at the Twin Sails.

Lily said: “We didn’t come to speak to her, just to wave – but we didn’t think she’d go shooting past like that.

“You’d think they’d creep in a bit slower so people could at least look.”

Earlier in the day, the Princess took a tour of the newly-restored Durlston Castle, near Swanage, officially dedicated it and unveiled a commemorative plaque.