Britain's poshest street party gets Royal guests! Prince Charles and Camilla make surprise visit to lunch outside Fortnum & Mason on PiccadillyRoyals sat at trestle table and ate cream tea from Union flag platesCharles and Camilla joined thousands of revellers in a rendition of National AnthemThe two greeted dozens of guests before returning to Palace to prepare for flotilla
19:19 GMT, 3 June 2012
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall made a surprise visit to a street party in the heart of London today to kick start the official Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
The couple popped along to Piccadilly, just a short hop from their home at Clarence House, and sat down with 500 revellers at a table decked with red, white and blue.
Camilla had been particularly keen to attend an event as she is patron of The Big Jubilee Lunch, an initiative organised by the Eden Project to encourage members of the public to share a meal with their neighbours on such a special day.
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Surprise guests: Charles and Camilla dropped in on Britain's poshest
street party today, held outside the Ritz and Fortnum & Mason on
Grub's up! The two sat to enjoy a pre-pageant Fortnum & Mason feast from Union flag plates
Raining glory: Camilla covered up in a beige trench, a nod to glamour coming from her four-string pearl choker and the pearls at her ears
The couple arrived at 12pm and, after
meeting and greeting organisers, plunged into the several thousand
strong crowd that had gathered, shaking hands and greeting well-wishers.
'What a wonderful day, let's hope the weather holds off,' Charles told one.
'So glad you could be here.'
Royal talk: Prince Charles listens intently to another guest at the table, while Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall smiles at a guest off-camera
Time for lunch: Camilla kept her cream gloves as she sat down and sampled some jubilee-themed wares
Royal appeal: The couple share a laugh as they wander around the crowds that had gathered
The prince then directed his wife to
two chairs that had been set aside for them at the giant picnic table,
adorned with patriotic cushions.
'Darling this is you,' he said as he
ushered Camilla, dressed in an Anna Valentine dress and
weather-appropriate Burberry raincoat with a pearl and diamond choker
around her neck, to her seat.
Camilla chatted easily with fellow guests about the food they had
brought with them. 'Ah sausage rolls, you can't beat a sausage roll can
you' she said.
She also helped herself to a bowl of cherries that had been placed on the table.
Charles meanwhile talked about the weather – 'It's been frightful, hasn't it' he asked. 'Let's just hope it clears up for us.'
Meet and greet: Prince Charles talks to royal supporters during his visit at the Big Jubilee Lunch
Champagne celebrations: Prince Charles shares a joke with a Jubilee-themed reveller
Camilla also produced a large white box containing an enormous and very beautifully decorated Union Jack sponge cake.
'Here you I've been up all night making this,' she said with a wink.
'Ok, well I haven't. Well it was my
idea, though, and it is the thought that counts. I am not sure you would
want to eat anything I made anyway!'
The Piccadilly Big Jubilee Lunch
street party saw the world-famous street closed for the first time in
its history and decked out in yards of bunting.
Local landmarks and
businesses, such as The Ritz hotel, Fortnum and Mason and The Wolseley
all took part.
According to the organisers of the Big Lunch, street parties are being held across the Commonwealth and as far afield as Tuvalu, China and the Arctic.
Party time in Piccadilly: The road was closed for the first time in its 300 year history as long tables seating 500 were set up outside the department store
Time to celebrate! The Queen's official grocer made sure guests were well-fuelled with champagne, cream cakes and scones
During the day more than 3,000 people
will sit down at a trestle table for a Jubilee-themed lunch to raise
funds for the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust.
Before they left the couple stood and
sang the National Anthem before racing off back to Clarence House to
change and head of for the river pageant.
'We have to get going so we can catch the boat – can't be late!' Camilla said.
Imposters: Royal supporters wearing masks with the faces of the British Royal Family, (L-R) Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Charles, Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry and Prince William, pose during the Big Jubilee Lunch
Best of British: Georgia and Alice are not deterred by the wet weather as they joined in the fun in central London today
'We won't let the rain dampen our spirits!' Two and a half thousand revellers are expected to attend the Piccadilly Big Jubilee Lunch today
High-class: A similarly upmarket street party was held on Savoy Court, where 120 guests drank punch served from the hotel's Lalique fountain
Mixologist at work: Bartender Erik Lorincz puts the finishing touches to his Savoy Jubilee punch, of which 600 litres ran through the fountain
VIDEO: Charles and Camilla take part in a rousing rendition of the National Anthem