Both are national institutions, albeit occupying two very different worlds.

But those worlds will collide today when the Queen takes a stroll down the famous cobbles of Coronation Street, where she will meet long-serving cast members and even pop into the Rovers Return.

Her Majesty’s long awaited return to the ITV set in Manchester comes almost 40 years after she last dropped in on the fictional town of Weatherfield.

In 1982, she officially opened the new set at the Granada Studios, meeting some of the show’s most famous faces alongside her late husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Much has changed since then, but the Queen, 95, might recognise some members of the cast who still star in the long-running soap, including William Roache, 89, who plays Ken Barlow and Barbara Knox, 87, otherwise known as Rita Tanner.

Queen Elizabeth II visits the set of the long running television series Coronation Street, in Manchester, England

Credit: Scott Heppell
/AP

The Queen will be greeted on set by ITV chairman Sir Peter Bazelgette and managing director of continuing drama John Whiston.

She will chat to long serving cast members before taking a stroll down the famous cobbles, meeting other members of cast and crew along the way.

The actors will tell Her Majesty how working practices were adapted to allow filming to continue throughout the pandemic, pausing only for a couple of weeks whilst broadcasting continuously.

Dame Carolyn McCall, ITV’s CEO will then show the monarch into Studio 1, where she will meet further cast members in the soap’s famous pub – and scene of many dramas – the Rovers Return.

The Street has enjoyed a long association with royalty, not least as it is as much a part of the fabric of society as the monarchy itself.

There have been various claims over the years that the Queen is a Coronation Street fan, but they remain unsubstantiated, with no evidence that she settles down in front of the box to watch the show each evening.

The Queen Mother is said to have been a regular viewer, while the Duchess of Cornwall was clearly delighted to visit the set in 2010, saying: "I can’t believe I am here!"

The Prince of Wales made a brief cameo appearance in the show as himself in December 2000, marking its 40th anniversary, and described it as a "wonderful institution".

Despite his star turn, Prince Charles appeared to let slip last week that he does not watch the soap after confusing it with EastEnders during a royal investiture ceremony at St James’s Palace.

In 1982, the Queen and the Duke’s visit to the set was deemed so significant it was broadcast live on ITV in a special 30-minute episode called The Queen in Coronation Street.

The Queen on the set of Coronation Street in 1982

Credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

The pair chatted to Mr Roache, Ms Derbyshire, Thelma Barlow, who played Mavis Wilton, the late Anne Kirkbride, who played Diedre Barlow, and Jack Howarth, who played Albert Tatlock.

Jean Alexander, who played Hilda Ogden, removed her famous curlers for the occasion, while Julie Goodyear, who played barmaid Bet Lynch, was said to have told the Duke: "I would pull a pint for you any time."

The monarch had first met cast members at the Palace Theatre in Manchester in 1977, when they appeared in a skit at the Silver Jubilee variety show.

Then, in October 2005, the Queen and Prince Philip joined members of the cast at a black tie dinner celebrating the 50th anniversary of ITV.

In 2007, Her Majesty recalled her 1982 visit to the set when she presented late actor Johnny Briggs, who played businessman Mike Baldwin for 30 years, with an MBE for services to drama.

Queen Elizabeth II visiting the set of television soap Coronation Street, with actors Johnny Briggs and Elizabeth Dawn

Credit: TV Times

"She mentioned coming to Coronation Street with Prince Philip when they came down to open the set," the actor said at the time.

The Queen’s visit today comes just months after Coronation Street celebrated its 60th anniversary, making it the world’s longest running drama serial.

The show, a story of the everyday lives of ordinary folk in a northern town, was created by Tony Warren and first screened live at 7pm on December 9, 1960.

More than 10,000 episodes later the programme has seen 57 births, 146 deaths and 131 weddings alongside affairs, murders, secrets and lies.

Its team of 27 writers and 300 staff generate six episodes a week, while the show is broadcast in 105 countries.

The production site is 7.7 acres, making it the biggest single television production facility of its kind in the world.

Royal visits to the Coronation Street set

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, 1982

The Queen on the set of Coronation Street in 1982

Credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

The Queen and the Duke’s visit to the set was broadcast live on ITV in a special 30-minute episode called The Queen in Coronation Street. 

The pair walked down the famous cobbles, chatting to cast members including Mr Roache, Ms Derbyshire, Thelma Barlow, who played Mavis Wilton, the late Anne Kirkbride, who played Diedre Barlow, and Jack Howarth, who played Albert Tatlock.

Jean Alexander, who played Hilda Ogden, removed her famous curlers for the occasion, while Julie Goodyear, who played barmaid Bet Lynch, was said to have told the Duke: "I would pull a pint for you any time."

Prince Charles, 2000

Prince Charles enjoys a scotch with landlady Natalie Barnes, played by Denise Welch, in the Rover's Return

Credit: Phil Noble ROTA

The Prince made a cameo appearance in the soap to help celebrate its 40th anniversary, greeting a cast member at the official opening of new offices in the fictional town of Weatherfield.

During rehearsals for the live evening broadcast, the Prince enjoyed a drink in the Rovers Return.

He chatted with the actors and praised the long-running soap as he laughed and joked his way around the set.

"Having met everybody, I understand why everyone gets so involved in Coronation Street," he said. "It is a wonderful institution in this country."

"The prince’s visit has been such an honor," executive producer Jane Macnaught said at the time. "It means the world to us."

Duchess of Cornwall, 2010

The Duchess of Cornwall meets members of the Coronation Street cast during a visit to the Rovers Return in February 2010

Credit: Andrew Yates-WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Duchess pulled a pint behind the bar of the Rover’s Return during a visit to the Coronation Street set in Manchester in February 2010, marking the programme’s 50th anniversary year.

She walked along the cobbles of Weatherfield before stopping at the pub during her tour of the Granada Studios set.

After watching the cast film a scene, she accepted an invitation to try out the beer tap, saying: "I hope I’m not going to spill it. Who is going to drink this afterwards? Any takers?"