Diamond Jubilee: Queen hosts Commonwealth lunch
- 6 June 2012
- From the section UK
The Queen has hosted a lunch for Commonwealth leaders, including Prime Minister David Cameron, as this week's Diamond Jubilee celebrations conclude.
The meal, at Marlborough House on Pall Mall, in central London, followed four days of public celebration described by the Queen as "a humbling experience".
She was joined by more than 70 guests, including the Sultan of Brunei.
Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa was jeered by protesters from the UK's Tamil community as he arrived.
The chanting protesters demonstrated against his country's record on human rights.
Representatives of all 54 Commonwealth countries, including Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, were at the lunch.
Guests were served brie and avocado terrine, wild sea bass and an apple crumble souffle, all accompanied by South African wines.
The Queen, wearing a silk dress in shades of blue and grey, was presented with a bouquet of flowers by Aduke Bandele, nine, the daughter of a member of Commonwealth Secretariat staff.
After eating, the leaders headed outside for a group photo and presented the Queen with a gift from the Commonwealth.
The BBC's Naomi Grimley said the Queen would spend the afternoon privately after a busy few days.
The Queen arrived at Marlborough House with her lady-in-waiting while Prince Philip, who had been due to accompany her, is still being treated for a bladder infection.
Buckingham Palace said his condition had "improved considerably" but he would stay in hospital for a few days.
He has spent two nights at London's King Edward VII Hospital after missing the end of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
The Queen was joined by her consort as she began her celebrations at the Epsom Derby on Saturday and again on Sunday for the Diamond Jubilee pageant on the River Thames.
But on Monday afternoon it was announced by Buckingham Palace that he was "understandably disappointed" about missing the rest of the celebrations, including the jubilee concert that evening.
The concert, which featured performances from artists including Stevie Wonder and Sir Paul McCartney, culminated in appearance on stage by the Queen.
Following a speech by Prince Charles, in which he described his "mummy" as "a very special person", the Queen pressed a crystal into a pod, igniting a beacon in The Mall. It was one of more than 4,000 lit across the Commonwealth.
On Tuesday, the Queen attended a thanksgiving service at St Paul's Cathedral where Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams paid tribute to her "lifelong dedication".
"I don't think it's at all fanciful to say that, in all her public engagements, our Queen has shown a quality of joy in the happiness of others," he said.
David Cameron, who gave a reading at the service, called her "a real inspiration".
Festivities culminated in an appearance by the senior royals on the Buckingham Palace balcony in front of huge crowds to watch an RAF flypast.
In a recorded message to the nation - broadcast later across the UK and Commonwealth - the Queen said: "The events that I have attended to mark my Diamond Jubilee have been a humbling experience.
"It has touched me deeply to see so many thousands of families, neighbours and friends celebrating together in such a happy atmosphere.
"But Prince Philip and I want to take this opportunity to offer our special thanks and appreciation to all those who have had a hand in organising these Jubilee celebrations. "
She said she hoped the memories "of all this year's happy events will brighten our lives for many years to come".