The first garden party of the year was held on a rainy afternoon, and The Queen was discussing her grandchildren and the current wildfires ravaging Canada, following a reception attended by MPs to mark her 90th birthday.
Her Majesty was joined by Prince Philip, Prince Andrew, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra.
Dressed in cerise pink, The Queen’s spirits were not dampened at the gathering, which 8,000 people attended in the back garden of Buckingham Palace.
Using a clear umbrella, the 90-year-old Monarch made her way through the crowds to speak to guests. She chatted to a number of those there about her grandchildren, and how she enjoys the youngest of the brood.
Speaking to Canadian guests, The Queen sympathised with those affected by the recent wildfires in Alberta.
To others – who no doubt asked about her newest photograph with all her great-grandchildren and two youngest grandchildren released for her birthday – and also spoke with another guest about the joys of being a grandparent.
A reception held at Buckingham Palace earlier in the day celebrated Her Majesty’s 90th birthday, with leading Parliamentarians.
Delegations from both the House of Commons and House of Lords, including party leaders except for Jeremy Corbyn, attended the event in the White Drawing Room.
Corbyn was attending a family funeral instead, and a Buckingham Palace spokesman said he had “personally written” to Her Majesty explaining his absence; he has missed a number of engagements with The Queen, and refused to kneel at the Privy Council meeting where he was sworn in.
The Lord Speaker Baroness D’Souza and Commons Speaker John Bercow presented a Humble Address to The Queen on behalf of their respective Houses.
Prime Minister David Cameron said it was “very exciting” to be at the reception. He said: “When I came in I asked how often this happened and the courtiers didn’t know, so it is all very exciting. I have been Prime Minister for six years and leader of the opposition for 10 and I’ve never done something like this.
“It’s quite an array seeing the leaders of all political parties.”
The PM also spoke of the celebrations in June: “We have got a lot to look forward to – the extraordinary June celebrations, Trooping the Colour, the picnic on The Mall. I think there will be a wonderful and unifying feeling across the country. There will be a great outpouring of respect and joy for the immense achievement of 90 years and all she has done,” he said.
“For so many of us she is the only monarch we have ever known and will ever know, so that does make it very special.
“I have always thought through the occasions I have grown up with, whether it was the Jubilee in 2002 or 2012, or this birthday, they are always bigger celebrations in reality than we expect them to be. And I think this June will be the same.”