Page last updated at 22:49 GMT, Thursday, 13 November 2008

Palace birthday party for Charles

Royal Party at Prince Charles' 60th
The palace released pictures of the royal party entering the ballroom

The Queen is hosting a lavish reception at Buckingham Palace to mark the Prince of Wales' 60th birthday.

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall have been joined by Princes William and Harry and the Duke of Edinburgh to celebrate the occasion.

Among more than 400 guests were European royalty, friends and members of the prince's charities.

The evening began with music from the Philharmonia Orchestra, of which Charles is patron. He is 60 on Friday.

In a short address Princes William and Harry thanked everyone for attending and paid tribute to their father as "an inspiration to us and so many others".

The princes also joked that because of their father's age they were having an electric chairlift installed at his Highgrove home in Gloucestershire.

Before the royal family sat down to a private dinner, family, a drinks reception was held in the palace ballroom, normally used to stage investiture ceremonies.

Guests were entertained by chamber music mostly written by British composers.

Among the foreign royals who made the trip to London were Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, and ex-King Constantine of Greece.

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The celebration was a private event, but pictures were released showing the royal party walking into the ballroom.

The Queen, wearing a champagne-coloured dress, led the way with Charles. They were followed by Prince Philip and Camilla, who wore a pink dress, and last in the group were William and Harry.

A party is being staged at Highgrove by Camilla on Saturday, at which Rod Stewart will perform for guests.

Robin Williams, John Cleese and Rowan Atkinson were among the performers at the New Wimbledon Theatre in south London on Wednesday, in a comedy show in aid of the Prince's Trust charity.



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