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Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip have been enjoying a trip down memory lane as the celebrations to mark their milestone wedding anniversary on November 20 began on the weekend. The couple released an official photo that recreated the honeymoon portrait taken sixty years ago in the grounds of Broadlands. They had returned to the magnificent Hampshire house - owned by the late Lord Mountbatten who set up their first meeting when the Queen was just 13 – wearing almost identical outfits.
The monarch, smiling warmly into her husband's eyes with her right hand nestled into the crook of his arm as she had done in 1947, added a nostalgic touch by wearing the same jewellery as she had done for the original photo. Her double strand pearl necklace was a wedding gift from her father King George VI and the brooch is thought to have been a gift to Queen Victoria from Prince Albert.
Prince Charles also helped his parents roll back the years during a family dinner hosted at his Clarence House residence. The table arrangement of white cattleya orchids was inspired by the then Princess Elizabeth's bridal bouquet at her fairytale nuptials to the dashing naval officer. And florist Shane Connolly also wove sprays of orange and wheat blossom around the candelabra which were modelled on the bridesmaids' headdresses.
There were 25 members of the royal family present at the black-tie dinner including the Queen's children and all her grandchildren, except four-year-old Lady Louise Wessex, as well as one of her bridesmaids – Princess Alexandra. The lavish evening marked a big moment for Autumn Kelly, the 31-year-old Canadian fiancée of Peter Phillips, who has previously holidayed with the Queen but never before taken part in such a formal occasion or been included in an official family photo.
The heir to the throne - who proposed a toast to the royal couple - asked his head chef, Julian Williams, to whip up some of his mother's favourite dishes for the gourmet feast. The starter was Eggs Drumliko – mousse glazed in aspic, with fresh mayonnaise and Caithness Lobster which had also been a favourite of the late Queen Mother. Sandringham partridge form the Queen's Norfolk estate was served up for the main course while dessert was a vanilla, raspberry and chocolate ice cream cake.
Celebrations to mark the diamond wedding anniversary continue with a special thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey on Monday. On Tuesday, the actual day of their anniversary, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will fly to Malta where they have happy memories of their time as newleyweds.