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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 April 2006, 10:44 GMT 11:44 UK
Birthday portrait for Queen at 80
Portrait of the Queen, by Jemma Phipps. Pic by kind permission of Ascot Racecourses Ltd.
Day at the races. Pic: By kind permission of Ascot Racecourses Ltd
A 28-year-old artist has unveiled a new portrait of the Queen dressed for a day at the races, as part of the monarch's 80th birthday celebrations.

It was commissioned by the Duke of Devonshire to mark both the birthday, on 21 April, and a revamp of Ascot.

Artist Jemma Phipps chose the baby pink outfit for the monarch to wear.

"It was quite hard to concentrate as I was trying to get my head around the fact that I was chatting to the Queen and she was making me laugh," she said.

The portrait will go on display at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters' annual exhibition on 25 April at the Mall Galleries in London.

Ms Phipps, who is based in Fulham, south west London, is the daughter of the equestrian and portrait painter Susan Crawford.

She walked through with a tiara the size of a fender on her head and the biggest grin imaginable
Jemma Phipps

She is one of the youngest artists to paint the Queen in person.

Ms Phipps picked the outfit - which is in her own favourite colour - from a selection presented by the Queen's dresser.

The Queen sat for her in the music room at Buckingham Palace during three visits.

"I believe I saw a side of our monarch that the public rarely sees. She was quite laid back, yet sharp and a great sense of humour.

"She also has amazingly good skin for an 80-year-old. I hope I have done her eyes justice, as they are incredibly beautiful still and always lit up."

Ms Phipps said it was difficult to forget the Queen is "no ordinary granny".

"At the end of the first sitting the Queen had to go into the next-door stateroom and be photographed for a coin.

"I was immediately reminded this was no ordinary granny. She walked back through with a tiara the size of a fender on her head and the biggest grin imaginable.

"The dark corner of the music room was lit up by sparkling diamonds and a whopper of a smile."


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