The Queen was on sparkling form as she opened the new headquarters of the Royal Philatelic Society today.
The monarch, 93, viewed a portrait of herself during a tour of the society’s new building in the City of London, which has been opened to mark the organisations 150th anniversary.
And if she was still reeling from last week’s events involving her beleaguered son, Prince Andrew, she wasn’t showing it a bit.
It comes days after Andrew, 59, announced he was stepping down from royal duties with the approval of his mother.
The Queen was on sparkling form as she opened the new headquarters of the Royal Philatelic Society today, pictured
The monarch, 93, beamed on her arrival at the new building in the City of London , which has been opened to mark the organisations 150th anniversary
The Queen brushed aside any concerns and happily joked with society members during the visit.
Asked to sign a visitor’s book she gave a twinkling smile and joked: ‘Proof!’
She also smiled mischievously and she exited a room full of awed members, saying loudly: ‘You’re all terribly silent, aren’t you?’ prompting roars of laughter.
The monarch, dressed in a rich sea green cloque coat and matching hat by Angela Kelly, arrived at the headquarters in a Range Rover, not her official Bentley, as the road was too narrow for her normal official car to squeeze down.
The monarch looked elegant in a rich sea green cloque coat and matching hat by Angela Kelly for the outing to the Royal Philatelic Society today, pictured
Among some of the artefacts the Queen was shown were letters written by her grandfather, King George V, who was a notable stamp collector
She also sported an eye-caching diamond and emerald brooch.
After being welcomed by Alderman William Russell, The Rt.Hon. the Lord Mayor of the City of London, she was introduced to senior staff by the President of the Royal Philatelic Society and viewed a display of philatelic artefacts.
Discussing the society’s move to the building, which has been two years in the making, The Queen said: ‘That must have been quite a business, I should think, wasn’t it? Quite stressful. I hope you are enjoying the place.’
Among some of the artefacts she was shown were letters written by her grandfather, King George V, who was a notable stamp collector.
In 1893, as Duke of York, he was elected honoured vice-president of what became the Royal Philatelic Society of London, with himself as patron.
On his marriage that year, fellow members of the society gave him an album of nearly 1,500 postage stamps as a wedding present.
He expanded the collection with a number of rare stamps and covers including a 1904 Mauritius two pence blue for £1,450, which set a new record for a single stamp.
A courtier asked the prince if he had seen ‘that some damned fool had paid as much as £1,400 for one stamp’. ‘Yes,’ George replied. ‘I was that damned fool!
He also gave permission for the society to adopt the word ‘royal’.
‘He was a great collector, ‘ the Queen remarked.
Gesturing to one of his letters, she added: ‘It’s great to be able to show it.’
She was then taken to see frames showing stamps depicting five monarch – including herself. The others were Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, King George V and King George VI.
She recognised her Coronation stamp instantly, remaking: ‘Oh yes, I remember that one.’
Spotting her grandfather again, she added: ‘George V, he was always so interested.’
Alan Huggins, curator of the Royal Philatelic Society, who also showed her a Penny Black, said afterwards: ‘She remembered him as a great collector. Her own collection was very much created by her grandfather but she has added to it over the years. ‘
After meeting a group of young philatelists, the Queen was taken down by lift into the library where she was shown items from the collection including a book that had been donated by her philatelist grandfather, with his signature in the front.
‘You must have had to do a lot of moving,’ she said.
Told the staff had to count at least seven thousands books by hand each she exclaimed: ‘Good gracious! There’s such a lot of stuff.’
Examining her grandfather’s book, she said: ‘And you kept it? ‘
Told that it was still one of their ‘go-to’ books on the Victorian period, she remarked: ‘Really, how fascinating. Is it still up to date?’
‘Well only until 1900!’ She was told, prompting much royal mirth. ‘Well it was a good one, then,’ she laughed.
She was also asked to sign a copy of their 150th anniversary book before being given a copy of it for herself to take home.
She seemed very taken by the pen she was given – one of surely thousands over the years.
‘Works very well, doesn’t it,’ she said.
Taking her book she said: ‘Oh that’s very kind, thank you. Is that the same as this one? ‘
‘Apart from that it’s not signed,’ she was told.
‘Oh well, never mind,’ the Queen replied drolly.
‘It’s quite a weighty tome, isn’t it?’
Before she left she unveiled a plaque – asking where they planned to put it – and signed a visitor’s book.
President Richard Stock, her guide for the morning, described the Queen as being ‘on sparkling form.’ ‘It was such an honour to have her here,’ he said.