A handful of American celebrities were invited to a star-studded gala with a difference this week, when Queen Elizabeth welcomed them to a special reception at Buckingham Palace. Jerry Hall, Miami Vice favourite Don Johnson and UK-based comedienne Ruby Wax were among those bringing a touch of screen glamour to the bash for 400 US guests.
The private party offered Queen Elizabeth the opportunity to meet some of the Americans currently resident in her realm, prior to her official visit to their homeland in May. Appropriately, guests also got to browse an exhibition of images of the monarch meeting the 11 United States presidents who have held office during her reign.
Also making the Queen's acquaintance was star snapper Annie Leibovitz, who will be shooting the official image for the US visit. The 57-year-old photographer, famed for her iconic portraits of some of the biggest names on the film, fashion and music scene, says the image will be be "formal and painterly". It is due to be shot in Buckingham Palace and unveiled on May 2, the day before the monarch sets off for the States.
During their six-day trip, which marks the 400th anniversary of England's first permanent settlement in North America, the Queen and Prince Philip will meet with President Bush and attend the Kentucky Derby, the highlight of the American horse racing season.