Aussies visit Buckingham Palace

ACTOR Hugh Jackman and supermodel Elle Macpherson were among hundreds of Australians at Buckingham Palace for a reception hosted by the Queen, but it was a cheeky Corgi-print outfit that really took the elderly monarch’s fancy.

The Queen, 85, who was suffering a cold and cancelled her daytime engagements yesterday, the same evening welcomed 350 Australian guests to the palace ahead of her trip Down Under next week.

Dressed in purple and accompanied by Prince Philip, 90, the monarch wore black gloves throughout the indoor event as she greeted and chatted with guests in her usual poised manner.

But when writer Kathy Lette walked through the door wearing a two-piece bejewelled skirt suit made from material patterned with images of crown-wearing corgis, the sparkle in the Queen’s eye was unmissable.

“Do you like it?” asked the ever-excitable Lette upon curtseying to the Queen.

And after a resounding “yes” from the monarch who is arguably the world’s most famous corgi owner: “Oh, I’m so pleased”.

There were no “struth” exclamations from Gold Logie actor Ray Meagher of Home and Away fame and even on-screen tough man Jackman admitted to being a little unsure of himself in the palace.

“(The Queen) was talking to me about the flight, about travelling to Australia and I wanted to ask her if she stopped (on the way there) but I had to think to myself `I don’t know if I’m allowed to ask questions’,” Jackman said at the reception, having earlier joked about being “thrown out” during his first visit to the palace.

In London filming new movie Les Miserables, Jackman expressed an admiration for the royal family which he said is representative of most Australians.

“Even the republicans – the ones in Australia who want to see Australia move on – still have great respect and love for the queen. I’ve never ever heard anyone say anything other.”

Macpherson, who wore a “blush” coloured slim Donna Karan dress, with matching Prada bag and Manolo shoes, also expressed her respect for the monarchy.

“I grew up singing God Save The Queen … my tenderness for the monarchy is long standing,” Macpherson said.

Arriving at the palace Macpherson was asked how she thought the Queen would fare as a contestant on popular television show Britain’s Next Top Model.

Macpherson joked that the Queen would look “awesome in my undies”, referring to her designer range of underwear.

Waiting in the white drawing room to meet the Queen, a Macpherson suggested that “the Queen’s jewels” would complement her outfit, and also said she was looking forward to sampling some tasty palace treats.

“I bet they have pavlova,” said the 47-year-old.

Celebrity chef Bill Granger lent his expertise to the palace chefs to create bite-size pavlova and lamingtons for the event, served among a range of canapes.

While entertainer Rolf Harris – reported to be “unwell” – was a late withdrawal from the reception, along with rugby league player Danny Buderus who couldn’t get a flight from Greece, most guests were surprised by the absence of singer Kylie Minogue.

The pint-sized pop princess was invited according to palace officials, but could not make it.

However, Minogue’s former Neighbours co-star Jason Donovan was among the crowd along with designer Collette Dinnigan, singers Nick Cave and Gabriella Cilmi, rugby league player Matt King, lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, and Socceroos Tim Cahill and Mark Schwarzer.

The Queen travels to Canberra next Thursday for a 10-night Australian tour which during which she and Prince Philip will visit Brisbane and Melbourne before opening the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) event in Perth.

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