The Queen was treated to Shakespeare and sheep-shearing on a visit to Lancaster today.
She travelled to the city on the Royal Train and was welcomed by hundreds of flag-waving well-wishers.
After a short journey from the railway station, along a route lined by representatives of the Army, Navy and RAF, the Queen arrived at the city's historic castle to be greeted with more enthusiastic cheers and applause - and a torrential downpour.
Wearing a turquoise outfit by Angela Kelly and a silver Duchy of Lancaster brooch, the Queen reached the castle's John O'Gaunt gate as the heavens opened, but the atrocious weather did not dampen the enthusiasm of the crowds who crammed the narrow streets as a band from the Royal Corps of Signals played the National Anthem.
After the ceremonial handing over of the castle keys to the monarch, Nancy Weedy, an eight-year-old chorister at Lancaster Priory, presented the Queen with a posy of red roses, a symbol of Lancashire, the "Red Rose county".
Inside the castle's Chapel Yard, a group of excited girls from the 5th Lancaster, Bowerham Brownies and boys from the 35th Lancaster, Skerton Cubs, by now drenched by the rain, waited to be presented to the Queen.
The royal visitor was then invited to take a seat under a canopy for a short performance from Shakespeare's Richard II, the speech given by John O'Gaunt, an evocation of England's past glories, including the famous lines: "This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle ...This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England."
After visiting the castle, the royal moved on to the village of Bilsborrow, home to Myerscough College.
In the college's Livery Yard, Phoebe Colton, 26, from Lancaster, and Nicol Coulter, 29, from Preston, who are farriery apprentices, gave a demonstration in the art of shoeing horses.
The Queen watched as they worked on a skewbald horse called Guild and a bay horse called Gisburn - two giant, 17-hand horses with the mounted section of Lancashire Police.
Mounted Police Sergeant Christine Driver, who rides Guild, said: "She said how big he was, how he must be a mountain to climb to get on."
"The horses were very well behaved, they are used to people and crowds."
The Queen was then shown a display of cattle, with one beast in particular keen to get a closer look at the royal visitor.
Apparently unperturbed by the animal's curiosity, it was pulled back into line by its handlers before it could get any closer to the 89-year-old monarch.
Finally, 17-year-old Alex Kiriakos, from Todmorden, had the daunting task of shearing a sheep live in front of the Queen, watched by his fellow students and a large gathering of press and TV cameras.
Afterwards, the teenager said: "She said, 'Have you ever done shearing before? How do you control the sheep?"
"I was a bit nervous, but it's an experience that's a once in a lifetime opportunity."