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How the Queen dazzles through the years at the Royal Variety Performance galas

20 November 2012
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Stepping out for the Royal Variety Performance gala on Monday night, the Queen looked as lovely as ever in a stunning silver number fashioned by her trusty designer Angela Kelly. The bias cut, silver mesh lace gown was embellished with crystal diamante, forming a series of parallel lines that made for a flattering shape. But it's not the first time the monarch has stunned with her choice of attire at the annual event that boasts performances from some of the biggest talents around – each year without fail she manages to strike the balance between being effortlessly elegant and appropriately glammed up.

Back in 1967, all eyes were on Her Majesty in a long silver column dress that she teamed with an ivory fur shawl and a sparkly tiara (pictured below, left). And she opted for a stand-out number in 1999, showing off her daring side in a multi-coloured patchwork sequinned dress with a full canary yellow skirt (below, centre). One of her more subtle options was the elegant midnight gown complete with matching shawl that she showed off in 2009 (below, right).  It's fitting, however, that the Queen chose such a sparkly number for this year's occasion. It is special for the monarch, who was watching the 100th show. As she settled into the royal box, the generation of stars before her had changed since she first attended the extravaganza as 21-year-old Princess Elizabeth back in 1947.

Girls Aloud and One Direction showed Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh just why they are Britain's leading pop groups. Kylie Minogue, Alicia Keys, Neil Diamond and Andrea Bocelli all represented international talent, whilst host David Walliams held things together and raised a few laughs by arriving on stage as James Bond, complete with jet pack – a wink to the Queen's own stint as a Bond girl at 2012 London Olympics. Amidst the ever-changing landscape of celebrity, there were some familiar faces reminiscing of Royal Variety Performances gone by, with Jimmy Tarbuck introducing clips of himself, fellow comedian Peter Kay and the cast of Only Fools and Horses onstage in previous years. Funnyman Jimmy made his debut in 1964 and was clearly delighted to be involved in proceedings once more. "It's a great honour to be asked," he said. "You're appearing with your peers and people you admire. It's such a good bill." Classical singer Katherine Jenkins was also on the bill and seconded the sentiment, saying: "It's an honour. It does make you nervous when the Queen is watching you. You want to do your best." Enjoying the centennial Royal Variety Show was the perfect way for the Queen and Prince Philip to warm up celebrations of their 65th wedding anniversary, due to take place the following day.

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