BERLIN -- Protesters jeered and lobbed eggs at Britain's Queen Elizabeth II as she attended a 'reconciliation and rememberance' church service Thursday in the eastern German city of Dresden, where tens of thousands died in Anglo-American bombing raids in the last weeks of World War II.
She received a warmer welcome later in Leipzig, where 15,000 people braved freezing temperatures to await her arrival. The British monarch mingled with the crowd and chatted with residents, who pulled out phrase books and asked her in heavily accented English: 'How do you do?' and 'How is your sister?'
About 3,000 people gathered in Dresden outside the 18th Century Kreuzkirche church to welcome the queen. Many cheered the British monarch, but there were also jeers for the queen by people protesting the recent unveiling in Britain of a monument to Sir Arthur Harris, who coordinated the allied bombing of Dresden.
Protesters demanding the statue be dismantled chanted, 'Take Harris away!', and two protesters lobbed eggs at the queen, but they fell several yards from the British monarch. An elderly man held up a large photograph of Dresden following the February 1945 bombing raid that created a fire storm in the city and killed tens of thousands of people.
During the ecumenical service, the queen's husband, Prince Philip, duke of Edinburgh, read from the Bible in German, while the prime minister of the federal state of Saxony, Kurt Biedenkopf read from the scriptures in English.
In an address to the 2,000-strong congregation, Biedenkopf said the queen's visit was 'a gesture of reconciliation' which demonstrated 'that we belong together in Europe in spite of all that has happened.' The queen sat in frozen silence.
While it had been arranged 18 months ago, the queen's visit, her first to united Germany and her first on former East Bloc territory, followed a deterioration of Anglo-German relations, largely over monetary policy disputes.
Officials hope the queen's five-day trip to Germany will help sooth recent bruises in bilateral relations while also helping heal deeper scars left by World War II.
Tens of thousands of people -- estimates vary from 35,000 to 75,000 -- died in the February 1945 Allied bombings of Dresden, which left the city in ruins.
During the service, the Protestant bishop of Saxony, Johannes Hempel, referred to a recent wave of anti-foreigner violence in Dresden and elsewhere in Germany and said 'it is a problem which concerns all of us.' He warned that a new, intolerant nationalism threatened to cloud the vision of a united Europe.
In speeches she delivered in Bonn and Berlin, the queen's issued a strong European message, underlining Britain's commitment to the European Community.
After the service, the queen traveled by train to Leipzig for a meeting with former leaders of the East German pro-democracy movement which played a key role in the peaceful revolution of late 1989 that brought down the communist leadership and paved the way for German unification.
On Wednesday, the queen set foot for the first time on the soil of a former East Bloc country, when she walked under the majestic arches of the Brandenburg Gate into what used to be East Berlin.
She laid a wreath to the memory of the 79 East Germans killed at the Berlin Wall as they tried to flee the hard-line communist state.
The queen was scheduled to visit Potsdam, outside Berlin, on Friday before returning to London.