Tonight, The Queen celebrated her 92nd birthday by attending a concert designed to honour her life at the Royal Albert Hall. Performers from across the Commonwealth joined together in wishing the Sovereign a happy birthday, with TV presenter Zoe Ball as host.
The Queen, wearing a gold and cream dress, was joined by many members of her immediate and extended family. All four of her children – Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward – were united for the occasion; The Earl of Wessex has just returned from Australia.
The Duke of Cambridge, whose wife Catherine is imminently expecting their third child, arrived alongside his brother Prince Harry and fiancée Meghan Markle. Some of The Queen’s other grandchildren – Lady Louise, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie and Peter – were also in attendance; Peter was accompanied by his wife Autumn and Eugenie was joined by her fiancé Jack Brooksbank.
Other family members in nearby boxes at the Royal Albert Hall included Princess Margaret’s daughter Lady Sarah Chatto, Princess Alexandra, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. Lord Frederick Windsor was also there with his wife, Sophie Winkleman, who was able to attend the high-profile event after reportedly being seriously injured in a head-on car crash in December 2017
The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, was also invited to the evening with her husband, Philip; many other Commonwealth leaders and dignitaries were also in attendance following this week’s CHOGM meeting, in which Prince Charles received leaders’ support to be its next head.
The concert began with a performance from The Dohl Foundation drummers, collaborating with Sir Tom Jones to perform his hit “It’s Not Unusual.” A highlight act of the evening was the George Formby Society playing the banjulele to Formby’s classic song, “When I’m Cleaning the Windows”. This entertaining performance featured Frank Skinner, Harry Hill and Ed Balls. The former Shadow Chancellor, Ed, revealed he has only been practicing the banjulele for 12 days before the concert. Her Majesty was a fan of George Formby, who used to perform for the then Princess Elizabeth, Margaret and their parents; she was seen nodding along in time to the classic song.
There were musical performances from contemporary artists including Kylie Minogue, Shawn Mendes, Craig David, Jamie Cullum, Sting and Shaggy.
Another entertaining part of the evening involved short video clips shown in between performances, where children from Perryfield Primary School, Birmingham, and Wormholt Primary School, London, gave their views on The Queen. One cheeky boy asked his classmate what socks The Queen was wearing at her Golden Jubilee, while another pondered whether her gold carriage was really made from gold, or just metal sprayed with gold paint!
A special section of the evening was pre-recorded from the Clarence House kitchen, where The Duchess of Cornwall met with Women’s Institute members Catherine Ambroise, Kate Jones and Caroline Sibley-Harris, as well as celebrity chef Tom Kerridge. The three women revealed the three-tiered cake they had made in honour of The Queen’s 92nd birthday, including fondant corgis – sad coming shortly after the news of the death of Her Majesty’s last corgi. The cake was made of various flavours, including chocolate fudge with praline buttercream and a lemon and gin buttercream, which Camilla was eager to taste.
A heart-warming moment for The Queen was when her grandson, Prince Harry, took to the stage to launch The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. Harry joked to his grandmother that she “was not easy to buy gifts for”, but that the launch of the new organisation “will provide a platform for those working to make a difference in their communities across 53 countries.” It was announced last week that Prince Harry was now President of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, as well as becoming Commonwealth Youth Ambassador.
The concert ended with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday and three cheers for The Queen, led by The Prince of Wales – who adorably called her ‘Mummy’ on stage. The Monarch responded with a wry eyebrow raise, before Charles spoke to his mother, saying that on her 21st birthday, when she made the famous speech in South Africa dedicating her life to the UK and the Commonwealth, she probably never imagined that she would be celebrating her 92nd birthday with her 70-year-old son!
Her Majesty was also presented with a posy by a young boy who shares her birthday and given three cheers by the audience, conducted by the future King.