Queen at Foreign Office Banquet, 1953

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The Queen (wearing the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara, Queen Victoria’s Pearl Earrings and Ruby and Diamond Floral Bandeau Necklace), rides with the Duke of Edinburgh as they arrive back at Buckingham Palace after attending a Foreign Office Banquet at Lancaster House in London on this day in 1953. The Banquet was held in honour of the Queen’s Coronation on June 2nd, and was followed by an appearance on the Balcony of Buckingham Palace.

A crowd of 50,000 cheered the Queen last night when she came out on to the balcony of Buckingham Palace after a reception for 2,000 foreign Coronation guests at the palace state apartments.

She wore a white-and-silver lace dress over gold lame, with a sparkling tiara. The Duke of Edinburgh who waved with her to the crowd for five minutes, wore his uniform as Admiral of the Fleet.

Police said it was the biggest crowd outside the palace since Tuesday’s Coronation. So dense was the crowd some of the guests had to enter by a side entrance. All the Commonwealth Prime Ministers, including Mr. St. Laurent of Canada, were among the guests, as were the Archbishop of Canterbury, Prime Minister Churchill and Princess Alice of Greece, the Duke’s mother.

Earlier the Queen and many of her guests had attended a glittering dinner party given by Churchill. The flower-bedecked banquet room at Lancaster House was set with 15 round tables for the 150 guests. Each place was set with shining silverware once owned by the Duke of Wellington.

Enjoying himself hugely, Britain’s 78-year-old Prime Minister bounced around among his guests like a man half his age. They included members of the Royal Family, Commonwealth Prime Ministers, Crown Princes from Europe and Asia and top diplomatic and military leaders. It was a final celebration of the Coronation week before the visitors start returning today to their homes.

Lancaster House, an ancient mansion overlooking the Mall in central London, was redecorated by the British government for the official receptions. Crowds cheered the Queen as she left Buckingham Palace and drove down the tree-lined Mall to the dinner.

Upon arrival, the guests went up a flower-lined double staircase, one of the finest in Britain. Lady Churchill, on the Duke of Edinburgh’s arm, followed Churchill and the Queen into the banquet room. The guests sat down to a dinner of consomme, salmon trout, chicken asparagus, strawberries and coffee — all served in Wedgwood china especially made for the occasion. The Irish Guards’ string orchestra provided background music.

Churchill proposed toast after toast for his distinguished guests, starting with the Queen, Prince Philip, Queen Mother Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. Soviet Ambassador Jacob A. Malik was there, along with Crown Prince Akihito of Japan, Princess Himalay of Nepal, and many other guests of the Coronation ceremony.

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