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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 March, 2005, 08:20 GMT
Guitar legends greeted by Queen
Eric Clapton and the Queen
Eric Clapton and Brian May were greeted by the Queen
Rock guitarists Eric Clapton, Brian May and Jimmy Page were among musicians greeted by the Queen at a reception to honour British musical talent.

When the Queen asked "what do you do?", Queen guitarist May said that he had performed on the roof of Buckingham Palace at the Golden Jubilee concert.

"Oh! That was you, was it?" the monarch replied, before asking Clapton how long he had been playing the guitar.

Singer Geri Halliwell broke with protocol by arriving 40 minutes late.


The Queen is always expected to be the last person to arrive at a royal occasion, while Halliwell said it was "fantastic" to be invited to the reception as one of 500 guests.

"It's great to meet her - and it doesn't matter at all that she did not know who were are or what we do. I wouldn't expect her to," said Clapton, who has been a guitarist for 45 years.

Other star guests at the Buckingham Palace event were Phil Collins, Dame Vera Lynn, Jamie Cullum, Bryn Terfel, Terry Wogan, Humphrey Lyttleton and Sir Cameron Mackintosh.

Jazz singer Katie Melua earlier performed before the Queen at the day-long royal tribute to Britain's music industry.

Katie Melua meets the Queen
Jazz singer Katie Melua shook hands with the Queen

The 20-year-old shrugged off a cold to sing her hit song The Closest Thing to Crazy, accompanied on piano by record producer and former Womble Mike Batt.

The concert also featured performances from music students and choirs.

Tuesday's concert, held in the palace ballroom, was attended by 250 schoolchildren from five London boroughs.

The event featured performances from the Bhavan Music Group, the City of Birmingham Young Voices choir and the National Youth Orchestra.

Master of the Queen's Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, composed three Renaissance Scottish dances that were performed by the Omega Ensemble.

The youngest performer was eight-year-old Vilma Aber Oketta, who played the udu and water drum with the African Abantu Ensemble.

New accolade

Ian Tindale, a student at Icknield Community College in Oxfordshire, played Bach's Prelude in G Major on the ballroom organ, which was overhauled and recommissioned in 2002.

  • Buckingham Palace also announced the arrival of a new accolade, the Queen's Medal for Music, which will be bestowed upon individuals who have influenced the nation through music.

    The award, open to musicians of any genre, will be awarded on 22 November, the memorial day of the patron saint of music Saint Cecilia.

    Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, who will chair the award committee, described the prize as "a concrete symbol of the esteem which most of us feel musical life in Britain deserves".

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