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'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 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.
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.
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.
Irish President Michael D Higgins will become the country's first head of state to make an official state visit to the UK.
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 Yousafzai has added the Queen to her celebrity rollcall during a visit to Buckingham Palace to promote global education.Read the full story ›
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 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.
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.
Malala Yousafzai is expected to meet the Queen of England at Buckingham Palace later today, adding another famous name on her global whistle stop tour to fight for young children to have the right to education.
The schoolgirl has been on a global whistle stop tour, meeting Bono, accepting a Pride of Britain award from David Beckham and chatting with the Obamas at the White House.
She urged Obama to stop using drone attacks and focus funds on educating Pakistani children instead.
Malala narrowly missed out on winning the Nobel Peace Prize last week but has released an autobiography, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban to much acclaim.
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for the right to an education, is expected to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace later today.
Malala, 16, has reportedly impressed Queen Elizabeth with her bravery and will attend the Commonwealth Universities and Education Reception at Buckingham Palace later this morning.
Photos of the baton for next year's Commonwealth Games have been released and a secret message to athletes written by the Queen is "at the heart" of the design.
Her majesty's message is inscribed on parchment made by hand in Glasgow, using linen and plant fibre.
It will be lit up from within by LED lights, but remain unreadable until the opening ceremony.
Organisers said the lattice is inspired by Glasgow's "rich industrial and architectural heritage".
The handle is made from elm wood found in the grounds of Garrison House on the Isle of Cumbrae and is a "tribute" to Scotland's natural resources.