Queen's 90th birthday: Five highlights from the weekend

Prince Philip loses his patience and Prince Harry takes after his father as they join the three-day celebrations

(Image credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images for The Patron's Lunch)

Beginning with a service at St Paul's Cathedral on Friday and ending with a picnic lunch for 10,000 outside Buckingham Palace on Sunday, it has been a packed weekend of festivities to mark the Queen's 90th birthday.

Here are a few of the more unusual highlights:

Prince Philip had enough of waving

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Crowds lined the streets to watch the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh proceed down the Mall in an open-topped car to attend the Patron's Lunch.

However, it wasn't long before Prince Philip, who is not known for his patience, had enough of standing in the rain. Rapping on the car roof, he gestured to the driver to put his foot down and get to the finish.

#PrincePhilip telling the royal driver to put his foot down! Surely he qualifies for @TheLadBible ! #Haha #Lad pic.twitter.com/n6SsPpW6q2— Josh Green (@JoshGreenSays) June 12, 2016

After 68 years of marriage, the Queen is evidently used to her husband's antics and gave him the briefest of glances before continuing to wave to the cheering crowds.

Like father, like son

Prince Harry's parentage has long been a subject of spurious speculation by the tabloids, but he was the spitting image of the Prince of Wales at the Patron's Lunch.

Photographers caught the young royal pulling a face which uncannily resembled his father's trademark gurn while greeting guests.

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Prince Charles himself was absent from the proceedings, heading instead to Gloucestershire with the Duchess of Cornwall to attend a street party in the village of Brimpsfield.

'Will I need a coat?'

One photographer caught an unusually intimate shot of the Queen peeking out of the curtains in Buckingham Palace, apparently checking the weather before driving along the Mall.

As it turned out, there was a light drizzle as the car made its way along the route, but the monarch put on a brave face to give a royal wave to the cheering crowds.

Princess Charlotte steals the spotlight

The Queen may have been sporting an unmissable lime green ensemble, but it was great-granddaughter Princess Charlotte who took centre stage as the royal family assembled on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch an RAF flypast on Saturday.

All eyes were on the young royal, who gave her first royal greeting to the crowds gathered below.

However, the Queen didn't appear to mind the newest member of the family upstaging her, smiling and joking with members of the family during the flypast.

Royal humour

Like many a birthday girl before her, the Queen felt obliged to say a few words to her 10,000 guests.

"To everyone here today and those holding street parties elsewhere, I would like to say thank you for the wonderful support and encouragement that you continue to give to me," she said after the Patron's Lunch, before adding a note of caution: "How I will feel if people are still singing Happy Birthday in December remains to be seen."

Queen's 90th birthday: Sir David Attenborough to lead tributes

10 June

The Queen turns 90 for the second time this weekend and preparations are being finalised for a service of thanksgiving in her honour.

The ceremony will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral in London today and the Daily Telegraph expects it to be "highly personal… attended by virtually every member of the royal family".

They'll be joined collection of well-known stars and personalities, with Sir David Attenborough reading an address on the passing of the years written by Paddington Bear author Michael Bond. Both men have also turned 90 this year.

David Cameron is to read from the New Testament and the sermon will come from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

As well as the readings, the cathedral choir will sing a specially created anthem composed by Judith Weir, the master of the Queen’s music, set to a poem by Robert Bridges, who was poet laureate when the monarch was born.

In addition, James Bartlett, the 2014 BBC young musician of the year, will play Burlesque by Arnold Bax, the Queen’s first master of the Queen’s music. "Organ music before the service will include Flourish for an Occasion by William Harris, who taught the Queen how to play the piano," says the BBC.

The service begins a weekend of celebrations. The Queen's official birthday, 11 June, will be marked by the annual Trooping the Colour on Horse Guards Parade, ending with the royal family making an appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony to watch an RAF flypast.

The party continues on Sunday, when the Queen hosts a giant street party on the Mall for some of the charities with which she has been involved over the years.

Queen's 90th birthday: Mystery donor spends £100,000 on tickets

31 May

A mystery millionaire has spent £100,000 on tickets to the Queen's 90th birthday picnic lunch on The Mall amid claims that charities are struggling to pay the £150 asking price.

Only 1,000 of the 10,000 tickets to the Patron's Lunch were originally available to the general public. The rest were designed to be allocated to the Queen's charities, such as Barnardo's and Cancer Research UK.

However, lower than expected uptake by the charities means the number of tickets on general sale has been raised to 2,500, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The charities are allowed to auction off 40 per cent of their allocated tickets to cover the costs of their staff attending the mass picnic on 12 June. However, some organisations have warned that the £150-a-head tickets are simply out of reach of their stretched budgets.

Thanks to the mystery benefactor, who has declined to be named, many of the smaller charities originally priced out of the lunch will now be able to attend.

"A donor approached Buckingham Palace saying they wanted to donate a number of tickets anonymously," a source told the Daily Mail.

"The Palace approached the Patron's Lunch organisers to see if they could help facilitate this and then wrote to the 600-plus organisations and charities involved in the event to let them know about the generous offer and the tickets were allocated."

The anonymous millionaire splashed out £100,000 in total, equivalent to more than 650 tickets, although it has not been revealed exactly how many of these have been donated.

The Queen's grandson, Peter Phillips, a director of the events behind the gala, has admitted that the event was "not exactly a cheap exercise". However, he insists that the company does not stand to make a profit from the ticket sales.

Queen's 90th birthday: Five highlights from the weekend

16 May

The Queen celebrated her 90th birthday in style this weekend with the festivities culminating in a star-studded pageant televised on ITV.

The performance, which took place in the grounds of Windsor Castle, told the story of Her Majesty's life using 900 horses and more than 1,500 performers, as well as featuring military bands, cars painted with the Union flag and fireworks.

"It was the closest thing the Queen has ever had to an appearance on This Is Your Life," said the Daily Telegraph.

Here are a few of the highlights from the celebrations:

Horses galore

The Queen's love of horses was the focal point of the celebrations and the pageant itself was the concluding event of The Royal Windsor Horse Show, which took place over the weekend. In total, there were over 900 horses on show. "It could not be more fitting that a quite different group which also enjoys the Queen's unfailing interest and support – horses, of myriad breeds and colour – will join the 600, sailors, soldiers, airmen and women who make up this evening's celebration," wrote Prince Charles in the event's programme.

An international event

The occasion was not just a British one, as actor Damian Lewis told the crowds: "One of the key pillars of this celebration is the Commonwealth.

"It is a testament to Her Majesty's constant engagement with these nations that she is loved in equal measure by those who have declared independence from the United Kingdom and those to whom the Queen is still head of state."

Horses and their riders came from as far afield as Oman, Chile, Canada and Azerbaijan to perform spectacular stunts, noted The Telegraph. Omani cavalry riders stormed into the arena standing in the saddle, Azerbaijanis rolled underneath their horses and back, and Canadian Mounties rode in lockstep formation.

Family occasion

The Queen was surrounded by her family at the event, with Prince Philip at her side and the young royals sitting close by, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. At one point "almost the entire family jumped out of their seats and put their fingers in their ears as a cannon sounded – only the Queen seemed typically unfazed", said the Daily Mail.

Image removed.

Continuing along the equine theme the Queen's daughter, Princess Anne, and son Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, along with her granddaughters Zara Tindall and Lady Louise Windsor got into the saddle as part of the birthday parade.

Kylie upstaged

Australian superstar Kylie Minogue was one of the standout performers on the night but even the Aussie pop princess found herself upstaged by a horse.

Image removed.

As Minogue took to the stage to perform a version of her hit I Believe In You, Jean-Francois Pignon, introduced as the horse whisperer of France, enthralled the spectators with his command of a group of horses, including a Shetland pony. It wasn't long before the pony was hailed the real star of the show from TV viewers on Twitter.

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One is not amused

The Queen was undoubtedly delighted with the celebrations, even "clapping enthusiastically at times", says The Guardian, but snapshots of the monarch looking slightly less interested went viral during the event. Some viewers claimed she looked "thoroughly bored" and "disinterested" at points.

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Inevitably it was horses that piqued her interest once again on the night as the voice of the racing commentator Sir Peter O'Sullevan, brought back to life by impressionist Rory Bremner, echoed around the arena.

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