Queen throws garden party for London 2012 stars

Olympians, Paralympians and celebrities mingled with guests invited from all over the UK at a Buckingham Palace garden party hosted by the Queen today.

The Queen was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, who has recovered from the illness, along with the Earl and Countess of Wessex and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh make their entrance
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh make their entrance Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

They were joined by TV presenter Clare Balding and Sherlock Holmes actor Benedict Cumberbatch.

The Queen wore a pink, green and turquoise silk dress designed by Karl Ludwig, underneath a pale green coat by Angela Kelly, with a hat in matching colours.

Queen Elizabeth II attending a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, London Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Some 8,000 people took afternoon tea at the party, the last of three to be held this summer in the grounds of the royal residence.

Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire Sir John Peace was introduced to the Queen as she made her way through the gardens. He said: "It never ceases to amaze me how knowledgeable she is about all the different areas of this great country."

Sir John added that Prince Philip had been "telling jokes" - but would not divulge what they were about.

Guests wait for Queen Elizabeth II at a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, London
Guests wait for Queen Elizabeth II at a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, London Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Other guests included many of the stars of London 2012 including cyclist Sir Chris Hoy and gymnasts Beth Tweddle, Hannah Whelan and Daniel Purvis.

Sir Chris Hoy and his wife Sarra
Sir Chris Hoy and his wife Sarra Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
London 2012 Olympics Team GB Gymnasts (left - right) Hannah Whelan, Rebecca Tunney, Beth Tweddle and Imogen Cairns
London 2012 Olympics Team GB Gymnasts (left - right) Hannah Whelan, Rebecca Tunney, Beth Tweddle and Imogen Cairns Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Cold lemon squash and ice creams were particularly welcome as temperatures reached 22 degrees Celsius, with many guests kicking off their shoes to sit on the palace lawns.

A woman carries sandwiches and cakes
A woman carries sandwiches and cakes Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Balding, who spent time chatting with former sportswomen Sally Gunnell, said she had "seen so many Olympians and Paralympians".

"I keep bumping into people I know," she added.

Queen Elizabeth II meets guests at a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace
Queen Elizabeth II meets guests at a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire