The Queen received a warm welcome from the crowds in Stevenage today as she visited the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust's new £16million maternity unit.

Hundreds of schoolchildren and local residents lined the entrance and car park to Lister Hospital, where the facility is based.

The youngsters were entertained before the Queen arrived by balloon sculptors, unicyclists and clowns, and a local band played show tunes, creating a carnival atmosphere.

Infants born this year have been dubbed Jubilee babies by staff at the hospital and the Queen met a group of women who had given birth in the past few days.

Out of the six new mothers, five had boys and the Queen joked about how the males were dominating the room.

For the visit the Queen wore a lilac double-wool crepe shift coat and a lilac, green and yellow floral print chiffon dress with a matching hat.

Natasha , 26, and Rikky Joy, 27, showed the Queen their first child, a boy called Cooper, who was born in the early hours of Wednesday.

Mrs Joy, a college tutor from Stevenage, Herts said: "He was a Jubilee baby, he was due on June 5 when all the celebrations were taking place but he was more than a week late, but that's meant we got to meet the Queen."

The final stop for the Queen was Hatfield House where she was greeted my more flag waving well-wishers before planting an oak tree in the grounds to mark her visit.

The historic building is the home of Lord Salisbury who helped to organise the spectacular River Thames flotilla in honour of the Queen earlier this month in his role as chairman of the Diamond Jubilee Pageant Foundation.

Above: Video highlights of the Queen's visit to Stevenage.

Above: Crowds reaction to the Queen's visit.