The abysmal weather in London today did not stop the Patron’s Lunch from going ahead on the Mall, as 10,000 people sat down to lunch in rain ponchos. It was the arrival of members of the Royal Family, followed by The Queen, which perked things up again.
It was Princess Anne an Sir Tim Laurence who were first on the Mall to chat with attendees celebrating Her Majesty’s 90th birthday and her 600+ patronages.
Then the York Princesses and their father, Prince Andrew, joined, walking down from Buckingham Palace. The rain stopped as they arrived, with journalists commenting the atmosphere was subdued due to the poor weather.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex took their daughter, Lady Louise for her first walkabout today, and she did seemingly well for a 12-year-old. James was at a friend’s birthday party.
— British Royal News (@UKRoyalNews) June 12, 2016
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry then arrived, lifting the mood even further. Prince Harry ended up in conversation with someone about the upcoming EU referendum, before telling them he couldn’t discuss the matter.
The Queen and Prince Philip travelled down the Mall in an open Range Rover, often called ‘The Queenmobile’, to cheers and renditions of Happy Birthday.
Spotting Princess Anne as she and Philip progressed down the road, The Queen was surprised, calling: “Oh, you’re still here!”
“Of course!” her daughter replied.
William, Duke of Cambridge, gave a speech after Her Majesty had made her way down to Admiralty Arch: “Thank you so much for showing that the great British public doesn’t let a little rain spoil a good day out. It means so much to see everyone here today,” he commented.
“My family has had plenty of reason to celebrate since The Queen turned 90 in April,” he continued.
“The Queen’s strong health and relentless energy; her sharp wit and famous sense of humour; and the fact that The Queen remains very much at the helm of our family, our nation and the Commonwealth. The Queen at 90 is the one Head of State that world leaders can turn to for a first-hand perspective of the arc of history over the last six decades.
“At 90, The Queen is the leader of our country, who we all look up to in good times and in challenging moments to set an example, and to guide the way ahead.”
“We are here to celebrate The Queen as Patron. Her commitment to the more than 600 charities to which she lends her name and support is unwavering.”
“From national military and sporting bodies, to small local associations, to charities that champion children, faith, education and arts, The Queen’s pride in her role as your Patron is absolute. Through The Queen’s association with you, she is not just shining a spotlight on the individual causes you care about; she is reminding us all that being active and engaged in society has virtue in its own right.
“Service to those around you is what unites you all. So on behalf of my entire family, can I say thank you. You have been partners in The Queen’s service for so many years.”
He added his personal tribute saying: “I hope you won’t mind if I say a personal thank you to The Queen – and to do so on behalf of all her grandchildren – and great-grandchildren.
“Granny, thank you for everything you have done for your family. We could not wish you a happier birthday,” the Duke finished with a personal message.
The Queen gave a short address after Prince William, thanking them for coming and celebrating with her: “To everyone here today and those holding street parties elsewhere I would like to say thank you for the wonderful support and encouragement that you continue to give to me.
“I hope these happy celebrations will remind us of the many benefits that can flow when people come together for a common purpose as families friends or neighbours.”
“And I pay tribute to the commitment, selfless devotion and generosity-of-spirit shown by the hundreds of charities and voluntary organisations represented here today. You are an example to us all.”
“I much appreciate the kindness of all your birthday wishes, and have been delighted and moved by the many cards and messages I have received.
“How I will feel if people are still singing Happy Birthday in December remains to be seen,” the Sovereign joked.
— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) June 12, 2016
Prince Charles and Camilla, meanwhile, attended a local street party near Highgrove in Gloucestershire, for which The Duchess of Cornwall had baked a cake herself.
William, Kate and Harry then joined Her Majesty and the Duke, following them back up the Mall in another open-topped Range Rover, to watch the carnival-style entertainments from a box.