Meghan and Kate lead European royalty at Buckingham Palace for Prince Charles's lavish 70th birthday bash
Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle led the stylish guests celebrating their father-in-law Prince Charles's 70th birthday at Buckingham Palace.
Charles's sons Princes Harry and William played a supporting role to their respective wives, who took centre stage at the festivities, even earning more column inches than the man of the hour in a lavish birthday event thrown by his mother, Queen Elizabeth. The palace was opened to royals from around Europe to celebrate the milestone occasion and also further improve on relationships with Charles on a personal level as the British royal family places him in a more central role as next in line to the throne and to continue a healthy friendship post-Brexit.
Denmark's Crown Princess Mary, a long-standing friend of the Cambridges was pictured arriving by car with her husband Crown Prince Frederik were among the royals celebrating. Norway's royal family put on the strongest display of support, sending King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit as ambassadors at the bash.
Mette-Marit announced last month that she has been secretly living with chronic pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease with no known cure. Jordan's Queen Rania was also one of the glamorous guests, alongside Belgium's King Philippe and Queen Mathilde and Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg and Maria Teresa, the Grand Duchess.
The Palace issued a picture of a tuxedo clad Charles and wife Camilla from inside the festivities, most of the details of which are being kept private. However,
His mother paid tribute to her son, describing him as a "dedicated and respected heir to the throne to stand comparison with any in history".
The head of state rarely makes public comments about her children but she used a black-tie dinner staged in Charles's honour to praise him as "his own man, passionate and creative". She added he was a "wonderful father".
Her words were a ringing endorsement of the future king, who has spent a lifetime in preparation for his role as British monarch.
"Over his 70 years, Philip and I have seen Charles become a champion of conservation and the arts, a great charitable leader - a dedicated and respected heir to the throne to stand comparison with any in history - and a wonderful father. Most of all, sustained by his wife Camilla, he is his own man, passionate and creative," she said in her speech.
The Queen also said it was a "privilege" for any mother to be able to toast their son on his 70th birthday, just as her mother had seen the Queen reach the same milestone.
She said: "It is rather like - to use an analogy I am certain will find favour - planting a tree and being able to watch it grow."
"So this toast is to wish a happy birthday to my son, in every respect a Duchy original," the Queen laughed.
Members of the Swedish royal family were unable to attend, including King Carl Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel, due to a previous commitment hosting Italian president Sergio Mattarella. Similarly, Holland's King Willem-Alexander j and his wife Queen Máxima had previous commitments and Máxima was recently instructed to limit engagements due to her health.
Spain's King Felipe and Queen Letizia were also unable to attend.
Invitations to VIPs from around the world were sent out in September.
Additional reporting by Press Association