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Royals gather for the Queen's lavish Commonwealth dinner at Buckingham Palace

Guests enjoyed a three-course meal in the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace

Chloe Best

The royal family were out in force on Thursday evening, as the Queen held a Commonwealth Dinner at Buckingham Palace. Her Majesty hosted a three-course meal for Commonwealth leaders and their spouses in the Buckingham Palace Picture Gallery, which is said to be the first time she has ever held such an event in that space, although other members of the royal family have.

Joining the gathering were Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and Prince Harry, who attended following his earlier engagement at a Women's Empowerment event. Prince Andrew was joined by his daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, while Princess Anne, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Duke of Kent, Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra, Michael of Kent rounded off the royal party.

The Queen hosted a Commonwealth dinner at Buckingham Palace on Thursday

The 130 guests at the black-tie dinner enjoyed a three-course meal paired with wines from England, New Zealand, Australia and Cyprus. To start, they tucked into a watercress panna cotta, followed by a fillet of halibut with salmon quenelles, asparagus and truffles, served with a selection of spring vegetables, jersey royal potatoes and an avocado and tomato salad. The meal was rounded off by rhubarb and ginger mousseline for dessert. Meanwhile, the wines on offer included Windsor Great Park Vineyard 2014 English quality sparkling wine, which is a commercial operation on the Crown Estate, but not owned by the royal family.

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The  Picture Gallery provided the perfect setting for the meal; often used as a venue for royal drinks receptions, the gallery was created by John Nash when he transformed Buckingham House into a palace for George IV in the 19th century, and was designed as a setting for his extensive art collection.

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The dinner came just hours after the Queen showed her support for her son Prince Charles to eventually succeed her as Head of the Commonwealth. The monarch said it was her "sincere wish" for Charles to "carry on the important work" started by her father George VI as she opened the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting on Thursday afternoon.

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