The Queen surprises guests at London Fashion Week after Royal College of Physicians visit

Today, The Queen visited the Royal College of Physicians to mark the 500th annivesary of its Royal Charter, before making a surprise appearance at London Fashion Week and presenting the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design.

This was the Monarch’s first public engagement since her return from Sandringham in early February, although she has had some private engagements at Buckingham Palace.

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The Royal College of Physicians was founded back in 1518, when it received its Royal Charter from Elizabeth II’s distant ancestor, King Henry VIII. In addition to the Tudor Monarch, the College has other royal connections: Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone for its Examination Hall in 1886, and the current Queen also opened the College’s London headquarters in 1964, which means that today was a return visit for the Monarch.

The college was originally established as a way of regulating the profession, as back in Tudor England virtually anyone could proclaim themselves as a ‘doctor’ and administer treatments. Today, the institution is the professional membership organisation for physicians in the UK; the college now has 34,000 members and fellows around the world.

The Royal College of Physicians is also involved in improving patient care and public health.

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Her Majesty was greeted by the college’s president, Professor Jane Dacre (the third woman to hold the position) who joked: “I hope I am not being presumptuous, Ma’am, in thinking that Ma’am will be most relieved that medical treatment has changed.  It’s moved on from when monarchs were treated with arsenic and bloodletting.”

During her visit, the 91-year old Monarch was invited to view an exhibition called ‘Ceaseless Motion: William Harvey’s Experiments in Circulation’. William Harvey proved the theory of the circulation of blood around the body, which entirely changed medicine.  Her Majesty was apparently quite intrigued by the bloodletting, which she thought was ‘fascinating’.

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The Queen was also presented with a commemorative charter, which outlines the college’s commitments for the next 500 years in its lifetime, after unveiling a plaque dedicated to the original charter – all under the watchful eye of a portrait of the imposing Henry VIII.

The royal guest also received a posy before departing the College.

After that scheduled visit, The Queen then surprised fashionistas when she arrived at London Fashion Week – an entirely new location for Her Majesty!

The Monarch quickly changed into a skirt suit, and removed her hat for this visit, but stuck to an icy blue palette. She also switched her brooch to the Cullinan V from a pearl and diamond ‘navette’ piece.

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She was there to watch Richard Quinn’s runway show and then to present the designer with The Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. The award has been created over the past two years by Angela Kelly, Personal Advisor to Her Majesty (The Queen’s Wardrobe), seated the other side of Wintor; Ms Kelly designs many of the outfits we see The Queen in, and released a book in 2012 to mark the jubilee, giving a glimpse into Her Majesty’s wardrobe.

The accolade will be presented to a British designer on an annual basis in conjunction with the British Fashion Council and is designed to acknowledge the role which the fashion industry plays in both society and diplomacy.

In order to receive the award, a fashion designer must show talent and originality, while still providing value to the community and/or using sustainable policies. The first-ever winner, Richard Quinn, studied at Central St Martin’s in London is renowned for his use of prints.

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The Queen sits with Anna Wintour as they watch the Richard Quinn show at London Fashion Week. Picture by ROTA / i-Images

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During the show, The Queen was seated beside fashion royalty: Dame Anna Wintour, British-born editor of American Vogue, who attended last night’s Commonwealth fashion event with The Duchess of Cambridge, The Countess of Wessex and Princess Beatrice at Buckingham Palace. The Queen, however, was given a special perspex armchair to sit in, while the rest of the attendees sat on benches.

As well as watching Quinn’s show, Her Majesty was taken on a tour of the displays and spoke to various designers, including young people from ‘New Gen’, an initiative created by the British Fashion Council which supports emerging talent.

The Queen also made a short speech on the runway, before thanking the council for choosing the winner of the inaugural award: “Our fashion industry has been renowned for outstanding craftsmanship for many years, and continues to produce world-class textiles and cutting edge, practical designs,” she said.

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