23 JULY 2007

Prince Charles made sure his wife's landmark birthday was a night to remember on Saturday as he hosted a glittering black-tie dinner and dance in her honour at their Highgrove residence. The Duchess of Cornwall, who turned 60 last Tuesday, was the belle of the ball - in part thanks to the Queen. Radiant in a white Anna Valentine gown, she was on particularly sparkling form with the help of some impressive jewels lent by her mother-in-law.

Camilla wore a stunning diamond necklace which once belonged to the Queen Mother, having been presented to her by her mother-in-law Queen Mary. Although the monarch did not attend the bash - as it would have turned the low-key, private occasion into something more formal - the loan of the necklace was an indication of the affection in which she holds her eldest son's beloved consort. Charles had earlier given Camilla his personal tokens to mark her big day. As well as some plants for her garden, he gave her a long-haired, rare breed Cotswold ram and ewe - and, according to one guest at the party, an eternity ring.

Among those enjoying the regal revelry were Charles' son Prince William, who was joined by apparently on-again girlfriend Kate Middleton. The Berkshire-born brunette, who according to sources has a good relationship with Camilla, danced the night away with her beau. While Prince Harry was absent - on holiday in Africa with girlfriend Chelsy Davy - Princess Anne, her daughter Zara Phillips and boyfriend Mike Tindall, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex made up the royal head count.

Camilla's own children - Laura Lopes, who is expecting her first child in January, and Tom Parker Bowles whose wife Sara is due to give birth in September - were by their mother's side. The grandmother-to-be's former husband Andrew Parker Bowles, and showbiz stars such as Jools Holland, Edward Fox and Prunella Scales were also among more than 150 guests who were served a three-course organic meal and treated to entertainment from a live band.

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Wearing an elegant Anna Valentine gown and a stunning diamond necklace lent by the Queen, Camilla radiated happiness at the party thrown in her honour by CharlesPhoto: © Hugo Burnand/Clarence House/PA
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Royal guests at the Highrove black-tie affair included Zara and her rugby star beau MikePhoto: © Getty Images
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Celebrities such as musician Jools were among those invited to help the Duchess celebrate her landmark birthday in stylePhoto: © Getty Images
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