3 JUNE 2003
The Royal Family topped off a packed day of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the Queen's coronation with a dinner at Clarence House. The Prince of Wales hosted the meal, while TV presenter Jamie Theakston was drafted in to compere the event in his own inimitable style.
The year of Her Majesty's coronation, 1953, was the theme of the gathering, and musicals including Guys And Dolls and The King And I were showcased by well-known British actors. Among the performers entertaining Her Majesty were Penelope Keith, Maureen Lipman, June Whitfield and Alan Rickman. The boisterous Mr Theakston meanwhile took the Royal Family though a comic resume of 1953's key events.
Thespians appearing at the dinner would be forgiven for feeling a little nervous, as their audience included Princes Charles and William, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Princess Royal. The presence of Prince Charles' partner Camilla Parker Bowles at both the meal and the earlier service at Westminster Abbey are seen as significant advances in her status within the royal circle.
Last night's celebrations were the first major event held at Clarence House since its previous tenant, the Queen Mother, died in March last year. Prince Charles and his sons, William and Harry, will be moving in later this summer, and Camilla is to have an office within the residence.