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Attention to detail in striking outfits

THE queen's first outfit on a busy fashion day was inspired by a very precious 18th birthday present from her parents. The turquoise clues for fashion-conscious royal watchers were the aquamarine clips that she wore on the left shoulder of her elegant coat for her first engagement of the day. They were a gift to the young princess in 1944 from her parents, King George VI and his wife Elizabeth.

Yesterday's early-morning outfit was a chic, collarless coat made in an attractive woven wool blend featuring running stitch flecks of turquoise and grey on a cream base.

The designer played up the colour theme with a series of bright, fabric-covered buttons. The upturned rim of her turquoise straw hat was trimmed with the same fabric as the coat and decorated with cream quills. The queen carried a shoulder-length Launer bag by the strap, accessorised with black gloves and shoes.

Later, she reverted to a buttercream, V-necked, double-breasted coat featuring a four-button detail at the waist and ruffle detail on cuff and pockets. She wore a patterned dress and a matching hat. After relying on black accessories earlier, the queen switched to cream for her handbag, gloves and shoes.

Few could take their eyes off her sparkling diamond brooch, known as the Australian wattle brooch, a gift from a Commonwealth tour 56 years ago.

It is a personal favourite when the queen wears this uplifting colour; and the yellow diamonds, representing the Australian wattle flower, are backed by blue-white diamonds in the form of mimosa leaves.

The brooch also incorporates diamonds in the form of the blossom of the tea tree with, at the centre, a large white diamond. It was designed by Paul Schneller from Budapest, Hungary, and was a gift from the government and people of Australia.

The Taoiseach's wife, Fionnuala Kenny, met the queen at Government Buildings wearing a mushroom-coloured, raw silk, two-piece. But the mother of three went for comfort rather than vertiginous heels and opted for a casual metallic slingback with mushroom wedge heel.

Her round-neck suit featured concealed buttoning down the front and knotted bow detailing on the neckline.

For her first event of the day, President Mary McAleese met the queen wearing a Louise Kennedy black lace coat with satin-ribbon tie.

She later changed into a Deborah Veale beige, single-button, satin duchesse coat with hand-painted silver motifs.

The dress underneath was very plain, with the coat doing all the talking, and the president accessorised with matching shoes.

Labour's Joan Burton was in '60s mood yesterday and wore an over-the-knee dress and cream jacket at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.

Irish Independent