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The Queen visits Chequers for the first time since 1996

The Queen has visited Chequers where she and the Duke of Edinburgh had lunch as guests of Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha. It is the first time Her Majesty has visited the PM’s official country residence in Buckinghamshire since 1996.

The Queen is shown around Chequers. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
The Queen is shown photographs of former Prime Ministers. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
The Queen signed a visitor's book. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

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Step towards kingship: Royal press offices to merge

The Prince of Wales is set to take another significant step in his journey towards becoming king when a key part of his household merges with Buckingham Palace later this month.

Prince Charles Credit: Alastair Grant/PA Wire

The press offices of the Queen and her son, Prince Charles, are set to merge.

The new office will be based in the Buckingham Palace and will be headed by the Prince's spokeswoman.

The move follows reports by the Sunday Times that Prince Charles will accompany the Queen on the beaches of Normandy this summer to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings - as the monarchy moves towards an effective "job-share".

The Prince has previously represented the Queen on the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka.

The royal selfie: Prince of Wales joins online craze

Queen & Camilla decorate tree with royal baubles

The Queen and the Duchess of Cornwall have helped to decorate a Christmas tree with a pair of specially-made royal baubles, to mark the opening of Barnardo's new headquarters.

The Queen and the Duchess of Cornwall got in the festive spirit today when they helped decorate a Christmas tree - with a pair of royal baubles.
The Queen and Duchess of Cornwall got in the festive spirit when they helped decorate a Christmas tree. Credit: PA

The Queen's decoration was made of red velvet, covered with gold coloured thread and featured her cypher below a crown and a floral pattern around its edge.

Her daughter-in-law's had a similar design, but was made from blue velvet and featured her cypher surrounded by a ring of white beads.

The specially-made royal trinkets hung on the tree by the Queen and Camilla.
The specially-made royal trinkets hung on the tree by the Queen and Camilla. Credit: PA

The Queen made sure she reached up to find a good spot for her festive decoration on the tree at the leading children's charity's new multi-million pound purpose-built building headquarters in Barkingside, East London.

Siblings Skye, aged eight, and seven-year-old Summer, who are supported by a Barnardo's children's centre in Essex, presented the baubles to the royal pair and also gave them Christmas stockings filled with tree decorations from the Barnardo's shop.

Jackie Collins made OBE for services to fiction

Author Jackie Collins has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by the Queen today during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Author Jackie Collins is made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).
Author Jackie Collins is made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). Credit: PA

The best-selling novelist, sister of actress Joan Collins, was given the honour for services to fiction and to charity.

Collins, 76, has sold more than 400 million books in over 40 countries.

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Irish President to make historic UK visit

Irish President Michael D Higgins will become the country's first head of state to make an official state visit to the UK.

Irish President Michael D Higgins will make a three-day State visit to the UK in April.
Irish President Michael D Higgins will make a three-day State visit to the UK in April. Credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Aras an Uachtarain - the President's official residence in Dublin - has confirmed they have accepted the official invitation from the Queen to visit the UK in April.

The three-day State visit follows the Queen's much-lauded trip to Ireland in May 2011, in what was considered a pivotal moment in relations between the two countries.

Malala: I had to miss school to meet the Queen

Malala Yousufzai said that she would not ordinarily miss a day of lessons - but made an exception for her Buckingham Palace visit:

I had to miss school because I was meeting the Queen.

It's such an honour for me to be here at Buckingham Palace. It's really an honour to meet the Queen.I also wanted to raise the issue of girls not being educated on a higher platform so that the government in each country takes action on it.We need to fight for education in the suffering countries and developing countries, but also here.

Malala meets the Queen at Buckingham Palace

Malala met the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Malala met the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Malala Yousufzai spoke to the Queen about the importance of education when they met at Buckingham Palace.

The teenager, accompanied by her father Ziauddin, gave the Queen a copy of her book, I Am Malala, during their meeting in the palace's White Drawing Room, telling her: "It is a great honour for me to be here, and I wanted to present you with this book."

Accepting the gift, the Queen replied: "That's very kind of you," before chatting with the teenager for a few moments.

Malala presented the Queen with her book.
Malala presented the Queen with her book.

She was reduced to laughter by a comment from the Duke, who quipped that in this country, people want children to go to school to get them out of the house. Malala covered her face while in a fit of giggles at his joke.

The Queen and Malala spoke abut the importance of education.
The Queen and Malala spoke abut the importance of education.
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