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Britain's famous women lunch with the Queen

March 11, 2004
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The Queen invited some of the UK's most high-profile females to a spectacular lunch on Thursday, bringing a diverse array of luminaries from Charlotte Church to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to Buckingham Palace.

Charlotte, who was the youngest guest at the Queen's first women-only event, was humbled by the spectacular guest list, which included Dame Shirley Bassey, Dame Joan Plowright, Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha, Jemima Khan, Absolutely Fabulous star Jennifer Saunders and designer Vivienne Westwood. "I feel so privileged to be here," said the Welsh vocalist. "I don't think I'm worthy when all I do is sing."

Meanwhile, fellow invitee Harry Potter author JK Rowling was similarly star-struck, admitting that a certain supermodel was on her must-meet list. "I'm looking forward to seeing Kate Moss in the flesh, I must say," she remarked. "Trivial, but true."

Heather Mills McCartney, Twiggy, and royals Princess Anne and the Countess of Wessex were also on hand to tuck into a buffet lunch of seafood casserole, sauteed lamb, mushroom and courgette risotto and vegetable tagliatelle. And, in addition to CEOs and leaders in government, the arts and science, there were also some lesser-known pioneers, such as Hannah Dadds, the first woman Tube train driver, and Damini Kumar, inventor of the non-dripping spout, in attendance.

Cherie Blair, who was there in her capacity as one of Britain's leading QCs, said she hoped the "wonderful" event would become an annual gathering. "There are so many fantastic people here," she said. "I think it's very important we celebrate women's achievements. The leader of the country is a woman - the Queen."

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Photo: ©
The guest list was as diverse as it was impressive. Above, the prime minister's wife Cherie Blair chats with flamboyant designer Vivienne WestwoodPhoto: © PAy
Photo: ©
Eighteen-year-old singer Charlotte Church said she felt "so privileged" to be invited to the eventPhoto: © AFP

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