Thousands attend Queen's street party

  • 13/06/2016
The Queen waves to guests at the giant street party to mark her 90th birthday (Reuters)
The Queen waves to guests at the giant street party to mark her 90th birthday (Reuters)

Ten thousand guests have braved rain to take part in a giant street party in front of Buckingham Palace to celebrate the official 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth, Britain's longest-reigning monarch.

Hundreds of tables lined the Mall for the Patron's Lunch, attended by representatives of the more than 600 charities and other organisations of which the Queen is patron.

Thousands attend Queen's street party

The Queen and Prince Philip wave to guests lining Pall Mall (Reuters)

Organised by her grandson, Peter Phillips, the lunch was the final event in a weekend of celebrations which has included a church service at London's St Paul's Cathedral and a traditional Trooping the Colour parade of soldiers in ceremonial uniforms.

Queen Elizabeth turned 90 in April, but also has an official birthday to ensure celebrations take place in the British summer. That did not guarantee good weather, though, and guests were handed plastic ponchos to protect them from the increasingly heavy rain.

"It is June and it's summer, so it rains," joked Graham Paterson, a Trustee with the Royal Pinner Educational Trust, who was attending the celebration.

His colleague Jane Crawford added: "Never mind, we'll make the most of it and are going to have a good lot of fun."

Guests were provided with hampers with picnic food including sandwiches, salmon mousse, a pork pie with a crown on top and dessert, along with the traditional British summer drink, Pimms.

As the rain passed, members of the royal family including Prince William, his wife Kate and brother Prince Harry, emerged from the palace to greet the crowds.

Thousands attend Queen's street party

Members of the Royal Family attending her official 90th birthday celebrations (Reuters)

The Queen and her husband of 68 years, Prince Philip, were then driven down the Mall in an open top car, waving at the crowds as they sang happy birthday to her.

The sun came out in time for a parade featuring more than 300 dancers and 400 musicians in colourful costumes.

The Queen thanked the crowds for their support and encouragement and paid tribute to the "commitment, selfless devotion and generosity of spirit" the charities represented.

"I much appreciate the kindness of all your birthday wishes and have been delighted and moved by the many cards and messages I have received," she added, before suggesting she was ready to move on from the months of birthday celebrations.

"How I will feel if people are still singing happy birthday in December remains to be seen."