Queen all smiles as she views luxury pieces by Halcyon Days at Windsor Castle

The Queen smiles as she views the artefacts. Credit: PA

The Queen was all smiles as she viewed a display of hand-decorated teapots and antique enamelled trinket boxes brought to her Windsor Castle home for her to see.

Wearing half-moon glasses to examine the artefacts, she peered at the luxury pieces by British craftwork firm Halcyon Days, which is held in such high esteem by the royals it has three Royal Warrants.

She also watched a demonstration of traditional enamelling and gilding by hand by master artisans – all in the comfort of her own royal residence.

The Queen was due to visit the Halcyon Days factory in Staffordshire in 2020 to mark its own Platinum Jubilee of 70 years, but plans were put on hold when the pandemic struck.

Much has changed since the outbreak of Covid-19, with the Queen, 95, now using a walking stick, confessing to mobility problems, and usually carrying out only light duties at Windsor.

Last week she missed the Commonwealth Day service due to comfort issues.

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The extended audience on Wednesday was a rethinking of the original engagement, with the factory’s work and skills being brought to the Queen instead – on a minor scale.

Dressed for spring in a silk floral day dress and wearing her favourite three-string pearl necklace, the Queen appeared in her element, smiling broadly as she was shown the presentation.

The intricately-decorated coffee cups and saucers and enamelled boxes were laid out on a white linen-covered table in the White Drawing Room.

The Queen examined the enamelled boxes. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

The Queen was said to have particularly enjoyed the visit, picking up some of the tiny enamelled boxes to inspect them.

Among the items was a selection of the earliest designs – the company was founded in 1950 just two years before the start of the Queen’s reign.

Taking a closer look at the antique pieces, the Queen held a small oval Windsor Castle trinket box with a red base, decorated with a black and white painting of the monarch’s favourite royal residence.

She also picked up a larger rectangular trinket box, edged in lavender, featuring three colour portraits of her late mother the Queen Mother as a young woman.

The enamelled piece was released in 2005 and features Samuel Warburton’s 1923 triptych painting of the Queen Mother in the year she married the Queen’s father.

The Queen took a close look at the items on show. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

The Queen Mother was an avid fan of the firm’s creations, and first commissioned an enamel box in 1970 of her London home Clarence House.

Other members of the royal family soon followed suit, and the Queen Mother went on to issue the company’s first Royal Warrant in 1972.

The event was the Queen’s first official face-to-face engagement with a number of people for more than seven weeks since her Platinum Jubilee reception at Sandringham House.

She contracted Covid in February and also spent more than three months from October under doctors’ orders to only conduct light duties.

The Queen is hoping to attend the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service on Tuesday.

The engagement came as Prince William and Kate departed from Jamaica as they continued their Royal tour.

Their visit renewed debates about a number of difficult issues, with some protests at the Cambridge's visit.

The Duke of Cambridge on Wednesday calling the slave trade “abhorrent” - he repeated his father’s words that it was a “stain” on Britain’s past.