The Queen has met a former cookery school student who helped create coronation chicken – the dish indelibly linked to the start of her seven decade-long reign.
On the eve of the monarch, 95, reaching her landmark Platinum Jubilee, she chatted with Angela Wood, who as a 19-year-old spent days cooking and perfecting the iconic recipe.
Poulet Reine Elizabeth, or chicken Queen Elizabeth, as it was originally known was first served to 350 foreign dignitaries during her coronation banquet and has gone on to become a national salad and sandwich-filler staple.
With the country was still living under post-war food rationing the recipe had to be simple and inexpensive.
The two women spoke at a reception held in the ballroom of Sandringham House where members of the local community gathered to celebrate the Queen’s 70 years on the throne with a cake.
As it was explained the decorated Jubilee cake was placed upside down to her for the press cameras, the monarch sparked laughter when she said: “Oh they can see it. I don’t mind. I don’t matter.”
The event was the largest in-person public engagement the Queen had attended since last October’s Windsor Castle evening reception for delegates who had attended the government’s Global Investment Summit earlier that day.
A few days later concerns for the Queen’s health were raised after she pulled out of a trip to Northern Ireland and spent a night in hospital. She was ordered to rest by doctors who later advised her to carry out light duties.
Her guests included members of her local Women’s Institute (WI), the Sandringham branch she supports as president, and Sandringham Estate pensioners.
Before the pandemic the Queen would visit her WI colleagues at West Newton village hall every year as part of her winter stay on her Sandringham estate in Norfolk.
During the reception the Queen also met representatives from West Norfolk Befriending, a charity which aims to reduce the social isolation experienced by the elderly by matching them with trained volunteer befrienders who visit on a regular basis.
And she spoke to members of Little Discoverers which provides early education for pre-school children with movement difficulties and delayed development.
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee will be celebrated across the country during an extended June Bank Holiday.
But 6 February, the date of the Queen’s accession to the throne, is a poignant period for the monarch, as it is the day her father King George VI died at Sandringham in 1952, heralding the start of her now record-breaking reign.
It will also be the Queen’s first jubilee without Prince Philip, who died 10 months ago at the age of 99.
The Duke of Edinburgh also spent much of his retirement on the royal estate, living at Wood Farm, a farmhouse in Wolferton nestled in the far reaches of country retreat, enjoying the sanctuary and privacy it offered.
As well as being the nation’s longest reigning monarch, the Queen is also the longest still-serving sovereign in the world.