Queen plays host to an A-list from Down Under

Hollywood star Hugh Jackman and supermodel Elle Macpherson brought a touch of A-list magic to Buckingham Palace last night.

The celebrities joined the cream of Australian society for a glittering reception hosted by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Queen held the event ahead of her 11-day day tour Down Under, which begins next week and will see her open a meeting of Commonwealth leaders.

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As the guests arrived at the palace’s grand entrance, one of the first to cross the pink gravel was Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood, who described himself as dedicated royalist.

In the palace’s opulent white drawing room the Australian celebrities gathered to be introduced to the Queen, the Duke and the Earl of Wessex, with the monarch showing no signs of the cold from which she has been suffering.

It forced her to cancel an engagement at the British Museum yesterday, but she was determined to host the reception.

In the line-up alongside Macpherson and Jackman were actor and singer Jason Donovan, but veteran entertainer Rolf Harris was missing – owing to illness, also believed to be a cold.

The royal couple chatted to the stars and shared a joke with them before they greeted all their guests, who numbered almost 350, in turn.

Jackman said after meeting the Queen: “She was talking about the flight (to Australia), about travelling. I did say ‘have a great trip to Australia’ and she said ‘thank you, I’m excited about it’.”

Macpherson, famed as much for her lingerie collections as her days modelling on the catwalk, stopped briefly as she went into the palace.

When asked about the Queen’s trip Down Under, she replied: “It’s great for us and great for her.”