Coronation Festival brings royal suppliers to Buckingham Palace

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Media captionThe Queen arrived at the show by means of the royal golf buggy

More than 200 suppliers to the Royal Family have gathered at Buckingham Palace for a festival to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen's Coronation.

The Queen, Prince Charles and other royals toured a special preview of the event on Thursday.

Members of the public are able to attend from Friday until Sunday, and 48,000 have paid £30 for a day ticket or £90 to attend an evening gala.

Organisers said the exhibition would promote "the very best of UK PLC".

The firms involved are all royal warrant holders, so-called because the title allows them to display a royal coat of arms on their goods.

Warrants have been issued to companies which have provided goods or services to the households of the Queen, Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh or Charles the Prince of Wales.

Among the 800 warrant holders are Bentley Motors, GlaxoSmithKline and Jaguar Land Rover - all of which are sponsoring the event.

Some newspapers labelled the event a "trade fair" when details were announced last November.

Evening galas featuring performances from Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Katherine Jenkins, Russell Watson and band the Feeling, as well as the National Youth Orchestra and English National Ballet are scheduled every night from Thursday to Saturday.

Five thousand people have been invited to attend Thursday's gala. The subsequent two galas will be open to ticket-purchasing members of the public.

Image caption The royals were treated to a stellar line-up in the evening concert

Guests reportedly include representatives from the armed forces, charities, and guests of the Royal Warrant Holders Association and the Royal Household.

The Fanfare Trumpeters from the Household Division opened the concert on Thursday, followed by a rendition of the national anthem from Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.

The concert was compered by the BBC's Sophie Raworth and choirmaster Gareth Malone, who narrated black-and-white footage of the Queen's coronation ceremony as it was displayed on giant screens.

Buckingham Palace said the festival would celebrate "innovation, excellence and industry".

By day, the gardens will feature a catwalk surrounded by a bed of flowers as the setting for a series of fashion shows charting the history of British style.

There will also be a culinary stage allowing visitors to watch chefs at work and sample food.

BBC television plans to broadcast highlights from the event on Saturday.

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