The Queen has hosted a tea party for locals in the ballroom at Sandringham House on the eve of her 70th anniversary as monarch.
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Ahead of her historic milestone, she cut a special cake bearing the Platinum Jubilee logo and received a posy of flowers, including one of her favourites, lily of the valley, plus others that formed part of her Coronation bouquet in 1953. Entertainment was provided by Hunstanton Concert Band, who played “Congratulations” for Her Majesty as she departed the event.
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Her Majesty, who was chatty and appeared in her element as she spoke with guests, looked typically stylish for the occasion, wearing an Angela Kelly wedgewood blue crepe with white brocade dress, accessorising with her trademark black handbag and carrying a wooden walking stick.
The Queen, who on February 6 will privately mark seven decades on the throne, was joined by fellow members of the Sandringham Women’s Institute and pensioners living on her Norfolk estate and their families.
READ: 13 times the Queen left the royal family in giggles
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The Queen was described as being on “sparkling” form by Yvonne Browne, vice-president and chairman of the Sandringham WI after she joked and laughed with her guests at the Sandringham reception.
The 95-year-old head of state arrived at the event with a wooden walking stick she leaned on sagely as she leaned forward to chat to the visitors who were seated around tables waiting for a tea to be served but stood up to chat to the Queen.
The Queen wore a beautiful blue embroidered dress
One of the first guests she met was Angela Wood who as a student was tasked by royal florist and cookery doyenne Constance Spry and cordon bleu chef Rosemary Hume to help perfect their dish of Coronation Chicken for the crowning of the Queen in 1953.
Mrs Wood made the Queen laugh when she told the monarch she spent “days and days altering it for Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume”.
Commenting on how the recipe for coronation chicken has likely developed over the years the Queen told Angela: “It’s probably changed because in those days we did some things quite differently.”
Her Majesty and Angela Wood
Shaun Mason, a junior sous chef, had created tiny bite-sized morsels of the coronation chicken, chicken with curry spices, apricot in a savoury tartlet, and he carried a tray of his creations into the ballroom and announced they were available to sample.
As the morsels were placed between the Queen and Mrs Wood to try, the room erupted with laughter when the Queen quipped “I’ll go away”, she turned to add: “You can tell me (what you think) when I come back.
The Queen was described as being on 'sparkling form'
Also joining the party were staff and volunteers from local charities Little Discoverers, which provides early education for pre-school children with movement difficulties and delayed development, and West Norfolk Befriending, which matches isolated older people with trained Befrienders who visit on a regular basis.
Harry Humphrey, Mayor of King’s Lynn, also presented the Queen with a Loyal Address and Platinum Jubilee Mosaic created by schoolchildren from across West Norfolk.
Her Majesty wrapped up in a chic coat
The Queen has been a member of the Sandringham branch of the Women’s Institute since 1943, later taking over as President of the organisation from the Queen Mother following her death in 2002. She has regularly attended meetings of the group in West Newton over the decades.
The Queen traditionally spends the anniversary of her accession to the throne in private at Sandringham, the place where her beloved father King George VI passed away in the early hours of February 6, 1952. But HELLO! understands she was keen to mark the start of her Platinum Jubilee year as she becomes the first British monarch in history to reign for 70 years.
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