The Queen joined her former and serving prime ministers for lunch yesteday in the latest engagement to mark her Diamond Jubilee.
She and the Duke of Edinburgh sat down to eat in Downing Street with David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and Sir John Major and their respective wives – although Cherie Blair did not join the party.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and his wife, Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, were also at the meal where guests tucked into a starter of salmon, main course of roast duck breast with potatoes and seasonal vegetables, followed by trifle.
The Queen wore a pale blue dress and turquoise hat as she was greeted by Mr Cameron and his wife, Samantha.
Former Tory prime minister Baroness Thatcher had been invited, but was too ill to attend the lunch to celebrate the Queen’s 60 years on the throne.
The former prime ministers represented a successive chain of political leaders back to the early 1990s, when John Major replaced Margaret Thatcher at number 10 Downing Street.
Had Mrs Thatcher been well enough to attend, it would have seen a gathering of serving and previous prime ministers going back to 1979, or more than half of the Queen’s 60 years on the throne.
Yesterday’s grouping also represented more than political rivalry, with the subject of Blair and Brown’s wrangling over the prime minister’s job now part of political legend.
There was no hint of any rivalry between any of the four leaders when the posed together for the cameras with Her Majesty, however.
The lunch was part of a Qbusy schedule for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, which last week saw them visit Leeds and Saltaire as part of their tour of towns and cities to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.