Saturday 22 October 2016

Queen's 90th birthday marked with star-studded extravaganza at Windsor Castle

Published 16/05/2016 | 04:51

The Queen is greeted by the Prince of Wales
The Queen is greeted by the Prince of Wales
The Duchess of Cambridge during the televised celebration of the Queen's 90th birthday
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh arrive in the Scottish State Coach for the televised celebration of the monarch's 90th birthday, at Windsor Castle
Ant and Dec hosted the star-studded event at Windsor Castle
The Queen watches her 90th birthday celebration in the grounds of Windsor Castle
The Duke of Edinburgh shares a laugh with the Duchess of Cambridge
The Prince of Wales greets the Queen before the show
Gary Barlow performs during the televised celebration of the Queen's 90th birthday
Dame Helen Mirren took the audience through the monarch's war years and how the nation fought against Nazi tyranny
The Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke of Edinburgh cover their ears during a gun salute as (second left to right) the King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge watch the birthday extravaganza
Pop princess Kylie Minogue has recorded the theme tune to Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
Katherine Jenkins also performed for the Queen
Andrea Bocelli sings to mark the Queen's birthday
The Queen surrounded by her family and guests
The Princess Royal on horseback during the birthday celebration
Damian Lewis addresses the crowd
Prince Harry enjoys the show
A Jaguar F-Type car featured in the birthday celebration
Performers present the Queen with a giant cake
The Prince of Wales greets Dame Shirley Bassey
The Top Secret Drum Corp from Switzerland perform
Performers in front of the giant cake
A rider carries a large Union Flag during the celebration
The Queen is greeted by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall
The Earl of Wessex rides out with his daughter Lady Louise Windsor
Zara Tindall rides out during the televised celebration of the Queen's 90th birthday
The Queen greets Damien Lewis
The Queen greets James Blunt

The Queen's life was celebrated with a spectacular equine-themed show featuring stars of stage and screen who performed in honour of her 90 years.

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In the grounds of Windsor Castle - said to be the monarch's favourite home - the Queen's celebration was marked with majestic displays of famous horse troupes, both military and civilian, from across the globe and other performances featuring four-legged animals.

The monarch was joined in the royal box by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, as well as a number of minor royals.

Among the famous faces who performed in honour of the Queen were Kylie Minogue, Dame Helen Mirren and Dame Shirley Bassey, with Geordie duo Ant and Dec hosting the two-hour show, which was shown live on ITV.

The Queen celebrated her 90th birthday on April 21, and Charles, patron of the celebrations, wished his mother "the happiest of very special birthdays", writing in the official programme to mark the event, the culmination of the annual Windsor Horse Show.

Dec told the 6,000 spectators in the stands: "Her life has spanned 10 decades and historic milestones include one world war, two coronations, man landing on the moon, the dawn of the new millennium, two London Olympic Games and of course 287 Bush Tucker Trials."

Gary Barlow kicked off the entertainment with a belting performance of Something About This Night.

Famous actors narrated the historic moments from the Queen's life, starting with Downton Abbey star Jim Carter, who covered the monarch's childhood years and introduced his wife Imelda Staunton, who performed a song.

Dame Helen took the audience through the monarch's war years and how the nation fought against Nazi tyranny.

The actress went on to describe the young Queen's coronation on June 2 1953 and at the end of the sequence mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins gave a rousing rendition of I Vow To Thee My Country.

All eyes were on the Queen, who wore a sea-green dress with a lace overlay and a matching jacket by her personal assistant and dresser Angela Kelly. On her shoulder she wore a turquoise diamond surround brooch.

One of the highlights of the night was a performance by Australian pop queen Kylie, who sang a version of her song I Believe In You.

As she performed, 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.

A major part of the Queen's life has been her role as head of the Commonwealth - the 53-nation organisation know as the family of nations.

Actor Damian Lewis told the crowds the Queen's "commitment and dedication to it is immense".

Military bands from across the Commonwealth performed but the New Zealand Army Band stole this part of the show playing Vangelis' theme from the film Chariots Of Fire, which had the spectators laughing as two of the band ran in slow motion.

The finale saw all the acts - from countries as diverse as Azerbaijan and Fiji - assemble in the main arena for the closing moments when a birthday cake was brought before the crowds.

Dame Shirley Bassey sang the James Bond theme Diamonds Are Forever, before the Happy Birthday song was played, followed by the National Anthem.

Dec summed up the feelings of the crowds when he told the Queen: "Congratulations to you Ma'am on a remarkable milestone - 90 magnificent years - as a princess and a truly inspirational monarch."

Press Association

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