Monarchy in the UK: Procession of Queens and Princesses join Her Majesty at biggest gathering of royalty since her Coronation
24 Kings and Queens, one Emperor, a Grand Duke and a Sultan as well as eight princesses, an Emir and Empress invitedAll enjoy formal lunch at Windsor Castle followed by dinner at Buckingham Palace
01:44 GMT, 19 May 2012
The Queen can certainly pull a crowd – especially among the world's royals.
Yesterday, she threw open the doors of Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace drawing the largest gathering of crowned heads of state since her own coronation in 1953.
The hotbed of royalty mingled in their glad-rags, celebrating the monarch's Diamond Jubilee with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Prince and Princess Albert Of Monaco arrive for the dinner with Charlene wearing a pale peach flowing gown with her hair in a chic 1920s style
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall greet greet King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of the Hellenes
The royal couple greet Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco who was dressed in a long white gown
Twelve queens, eight princesses, an Emir and a lone Empress arrived in an array of eye-catching outfits, along with 12 Kings, one Emperor, a Grand Duke and a Sultan.
The day of celebrations began with a lunch at Windsor Castle and ended with a dinner at Buckingham Palace, hosted by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.
Last night, Charles and Camilla, who was wearing a duck-egg blue lace Bruce Oldfield evening gown and diamond jewellery, greeted royals as they arrived in the palace's Music Room before a drinks and canape reception in the Blue Drawing Room, ahead of the three-course meal.
The Duchess curtsied to all of the kings and queens present, including King Mswati and his wife, Inkhosikati LaMahlangu of Swaziland, who wore an extravagant gold ballgown with a ruffled skirt teamed with a fur stole and large jewelled choker.
The two couples chatted for a few moments, with King Mswati, who is accused of having a lavish lifestyle while his people starve, telling Charles: 'It's been a long time.'
The Sultan of Brunei and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei arrive for the dinner and right, the Duchess of Cornwall greets Princess Lalla Meryem of Morocco
The first foreign royals to arrive were King of Jordan Abdullah II and his wife Queen Rania, who wore an elegant black dress with a cream panel at the front. King Abdullah II told Charles: 'Thank you so much for inviting me.'
Next to arrive was King Harald V of Norway and Queen Sonja of Norway, with whom Charles and Camilla recently stayed during their tour of Scandinavia.
There was a warm welcome for the Norwegians, with Camilla kissing them both on the cheeks as King Harald exclaimed: 'I'm delighted to see you again.'
Prince Albert II of Monaco shook hands with Charles and Camilla, kissing the Duchess on the cheek.
Queen Margarethe II of Denmark and Prince Henrik, left, and King Simeon of Bulgaria and his wife Queen Margarita arrive at Buckingham Palace
His wife, Princess Charlene, wearing a pale peach flowing gown and with her hair in a chic 1920s style, gave a deep curtsy to Charles. She was helped into the Blue Drawing Room by her husband, appearing to stumble slightly as she entered the reception.
Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg spent time chatting with Charles and Camilla. The Grand Duchess, wearing a dress in a strikingly similar tone to Camilla's, warmly asked her: 'Are you surviving'
Last to arrive was the King and Queen of Sweden, who accompanied Charles and Camilla as they left the Music Room.
Charles spoke to Princess Charlene in the drinks reception, with Camilla sharing a joke with the Sultan of Brunei.
Other members of the British Royal Family attending included the Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex – who wore a dark blue jewelled dress – the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and Princess Alexandra, the Honourable Lady Ogilvy.
Perfect hosts: Kate wore a simple pleated dress by Emilia Wickstead as she joined William in welcoming thte world's Royals for the Queen's celebratory lunch at Windsor Castle yesterday
Celebratory mood: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were joined by Prince Harry for a drinks reception in the castle's Waterloo Chamber before the lavish British-themed lunch
At ease: Kate chats to King Simeon of Bulgaria and his wife Margarita
Each of the five tables for dinner, in the State Dining Room, was headed by a British royal.
The guests dined on cheese souffle, sea bass with Duchy of Cornwall vegetables and rhubarb Eton mess.
Earlier in the day, the Duchess of Cambridge looked entirely at ease as she mingled with the international royals, chatting warmly with Princess Charlene and sharing a joke with the King of Jordan and his wife.
She dazzled in a 1,200 pink Emilia Wickstead dress with pleated skirt at the World Sovereign’s lunch.
First to arrive for pre-lunch drinks in the Waterloo Chamber was Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, soon followed by Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg.
The Grand Duke and Duchess were warmly greeted by the Queen and Duke with handshakes and double kisses – a display of affection that set the tone for many of the welcomes.
Girl talk: The Duchess of Cambridge chatted to Charlene, Princess of Monaco, who looked stylish with a new shorter hair cut
King Harald V of Norway kissed the Queen’s hand when he and his wife Queen Sonja met the monarch and she replied with a beaming smile.
Prince Albert II of Monaco was more formal with just a handshake while his wife, Princess Charlene, gave a low curtsey.
The most extravagant welcome, however, came from Queen Beatrix of Netherland who flung open her arms as she approached the Queen before kissing her warmly.
Playing host: William chatted to Prince Albert II of Monaco while Kate entertained his wife Charlene
All senior members of the British Royal Family were present including the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, and brother-in-law, Prince Harry, as well as other younger royals including Prince Andrew’s daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, who were seen chatting animatedly to the wife of the King of Bahrain, Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa.
Fortunately King Mswatsi of Swaziland brought just one of his 13 wives, the third ranked but apparently most favoured Inkhosikati LaMbikiza, who wore a rather eye-catching pair of Pearly Queen-style shoes with feathery pom-poms on the toes and heels.
Thirteen is, by all accounts, a relatively modest total. His father boasted more than 70 spouses – which would really have shaken up the seating plan.
Joyous occasion: The Monaco royals were among the largest gathering of crowned heads of state since our own Queen's coronation in 1953
International relations: Kate shares a joke with one of the Queen's royal guests, one of 98 who arrived at Windsor to enjoy a sit-down lunch with the British monarch
The event had the atmosphere of a family gathering, despite the opulent surroundings, with everyone chatting loudly as they caught up.
The British Royal Family circulated around the chamber mingling with their foreign guests. At one point Prince Harry was engrossed in conversation with the Saudi Ambassador while his brother William and wife Kate chatted to King of Jordan Abdullah II and his wife Queen Rania.
Edward joked loudly ‘safety in numbers’ when he found King Mswati III and King Letsie III of Lesotho, along with their spouses, standing together chatting.
After drinks the 62 royals (plus guests, making 98 diners in all) headed into the magnificent St George' Hall for lunch, where they were seated relatively informally in round tables of up to 12.
Each group had at least one sovereign and their spouse, a member of the British royal family and a member of the royal Household seated together.
On the menu was a starter of poached egg with English asparagus, noisettes of new season Windsor lamb and juicy Kent-grown strawberries.
Before the guests sat down to lunch, 21 crowned heads and the six foreign royals representing their sovereigns sat down for a group picture.
Got the blues Princess Charlene chose a powder blue suit for the occasion, adhering to Royal protocol by teaming them with closed-toe courts
Protocol: Princess Charlene curtseys deeply to the Queen as she and Prince Albert arrive at the Castle
They filed into a room where chairs and standing places had been set up with their home country's flags placed where they should be.
The King of Bahrain appeared to be having a fit of giggles as was the Sultan of Brunei, sitting in front of him.
As the photographer began taking the pictures the Queen, who was sitting in the centre of the group, joked: 'Are you supposed to be enjoying this'
Pleased to meet you: Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice with Princess Sabika of Bahrain
Elegant: Princess Srirasm of Thailand wore a pretty blush pink silk top with metallic skirt, left, while the Crown Princess Margarita of Romania chose vibrant red for the lunch
However, the joyousness of the occasion was overshadowed by a growing row about some of the more controversial names on her guest list and sparked demonstrations outside Buckingham Palace, where a second lavish black tie dinner was being thrown later in day by Prince Charles for some of the lunch guests.
Indeed the Queen, who has spent the last 60 years managing to sidestep such political controversy, has found herself accused of making a catastrophic error of judgment today by dining with the King of Bahrain, whose regime is accused of a catalogue of human rights abuses.
Controversial: Queen Elizabeth greets the King of Bahrain at yesterday's lunch, while angry demonstrators outside the castle protested against the monarch's decision to invite the anti-democratic Middle Eastern leader
Polite: The Duke of Edinburgh greets Bahrain's King and his wife after the Queen has done her duty
Close: Queen Margrethe of Denmark greets the British monarch warmly… and is treated to a kiss on the hand by Prince Philip
Also singled out for criticism is Swaziland’s King Mswati 111, who has been accused of living an obscenely lavish lifestyle while many of his people starve.
Similarly Prince Mohammed Bin Nawaf Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, the country’s Ambassador to Britain, comes from a country not entirely renowned for its democratic practices.
Another guest, the former Prime Minister of Kuwait, Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Sabah, is also mired in controversy after stepping down over a corruption row.
However the Queen, who has been advised by the Foreign Office, appeared unperturbed by the furore and made a point of personally greeting Bahrain’s King Hamad Al-Khalifa as he arrived at the Castle. The pair even shared a private joke together.
Controversial: King Mswati III of Swaziland and Inkhosikati LaMbikiza, his third ranking wife, but said to be his favourite arrive at Windsor Castle – and Inkhosikati wears some rather fetching feather-trimmed heels. The Swaziland King has been criticised for living an obscenely lavish lifestyle while his people starve
Tribute to our Pearly Queen Inkhosikati LaMbikiza's shoes were trimmed with jewels, sequins and feathers
Taking a bow: Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg arrive at the castle, right, Crown Prince Alexander II of Yugoslavia and his wife, the Crown Princess Katarina
More arrivals: King Letsie III of Lesotho and Queen Mesenate Mohato Seeiso are greeted by a member of household staff, left. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan, right, arrive at the Castle
Friendly welcome: The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh greet the King and Queen of Norway to the Jubilee
Close: Her Majesty greets the Queen of the Netherlands in the rare meeting of world monarchs
Wealthy: Her Majesty meets the Sultan of Brunei and wife Raja Isteri Pengira Anak Hajah Saleha
Royal affair: The Queen invited royals from around the world to Windsor Castle for a Sovereign Monarchs Jubilee lunch. Front row, left to right: the Emperor of Japan, Queen of the Netherlands, Queen of Denmark, King of the Hellenes, King of Romania, Queen Elizabeth, King of Bulgaria, Sultan of Brunei, King of Sweden, King of Swaziland, Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein. Middle, Left to right: Prince of Monaco, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, King of Lesotho, King of the Belgians, King of Norway, Emir of Qatar, King of Jordan, King of Bahrain, and The Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia. Top row, left to right: Nasser Mohamed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah of Kuwait, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia, King of Tonga, the Crown Prince of Thailand, Princess Lalla Meryem of Morocco and Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia
Royal procession: Members of the public look on as motorcades containing world leaders began arriving at Windsor Castle yesterday
EMILIA WICKSTEAD: THE GO-TO DESIGNER FOR HIGH SOCIETY
Society favourite: Designer Emilia Wickstead with loyal client Samantha Cameron
British based, New Zealand-born designer Emilia Wickstead has fast become one of the go-to designers for London's high society.
In business just three years, Ms Wickstead has already dressed a number of royals – not least Kate, who wore an emerald Emilia Wickstead coat dress for a St Patrick's Day appearance earlier this year.
Kate has been spotted various times visiting the atelier in London's Belgravia, and is said to be a great fan of the brand.
Privately, Ms Wickstead is said to be delighted the Kate has shown interest in her collection.
Ms Wickstead also dressed a number of VIP guests invited to last year's Royal Wedding, including Kate's cousin Lucy, Anya Hindmarch, Georgina Cadbury, Lady Kitty Spencer, Emma Parker Bowles and India Hicks, who was a bridesmaid to Princess Diana.
But Emilia's client base is not restricted to the upper echelons royalty.
Ms Wickstead can also count Dannii Minogue and Samantha Cameron as trusted customers, both of whom have worn her designs on many occasions.
Most recently, Samantha Cameron wore multiple pieces from Wickstead's collection on a visit to the U.S. in March.
The designer's spring/summer 2012 collection, a pretty collection in candybox hues, was described by Wickstead herself as being a 'mixture of sophistication and playfulness – fashionable women who entertain'.
Perfectly suited for the Duchess's central role today.
'We are happy, delighted and excited to see Kate in one of our designs, a spokesman for Emilia Wickstead said today. 'She looked lovely.'