Queen Elizabeth probably won’t join Prince William and Kate Middleton at Pippa Middleton’s wedding tomorrow, but she has plenty to celebrate with her own friends this weekend. The monarch, who rarely goes out to a restaurant, was spotted at an upscale hotspot on May 18 enjoying a dinner celebrating Archduchess Helena of Habsburg’s 80th birthday.
AOL News wrote that Archduchess Helena and Queen Elizabeth made use of a private dining room for the party that included her cousin Prince Michael of Kent and his wife. All four elderly royals were stars on the social scene decades ago, with a popularity that would rival Kate Middleton and the princes today.
Queen Elizabeth dressed in her usual quiet, but regal, style for the dinner. People wrote that she wore an elegant gray paisley shawl draped over a silver dress and a pair of dazzling diamond earrings. She also carried an unusual clutch in her hand as well as her trusty black purse looped over her arm.
The clutch appeared to have a picture of Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister, Princess Margaret, on the front. The woman in the image wears Margaret’s classic bouffant hairstyle as she poses with two young children who People wrote look very much like Prince Charles’ cousins, Lady Sarah Chatto and David Armstrong-Jones, the Earl of Snowdon.
As the monarch’s generation ages and her close friends and relatives die, it’s quite possible that she would like to carry mementos of days gone by. Elizabeth and Margaret had a strong bond as children and maintained their bond even after the head of state and head of the Church of England refused permission for Margaret to marry the love of her life.
That refusal, which nearly broke the young princess’ heart, may have something to do with Queen Elizabeth’s willingness to be flexible when it comes to Prince Harry’s happiness.
The royal matriarch is reported to have recently approved an engagement between Harry and Meghan Markle, and she “appeared happier than ever” as she smiled in delight while enjoying dinner with her friends.
It took years for Prince William to finally introduce Kate Middleton to his regal grandmother and years more to receive permission to marry, but Harry and Meghan are moving more quickly along the romance road.
Princess Margaret was hugely popular and loved the limelight once she recovered from her heartbreak, but her son, the new Earl of Snowdon, and the younger Armstrong-Jones generation have stayed away from the spotlight.
Despite the differences in rank and international stardom, the royal cousins are still very close. When William and Kate Middleton were married, Kate chose the queen’s great-niece, Margarita Armstrong-Jones, as one of her bridesmaids.
Markle, like Middleton before her, is a commoner, but the success of Kate and William’s marriage has shown the queen that a good royal marriage doesn’t have to be between royals.
With Queen Elizabeth’s permission to marry, there’s nothing to stop Harry and Meghan from getting engaged the moment they know they are ready.
In the meantime, Queen Elizabeth has her own festivities planned while she awaits the next royal wedding. She held her first garden party of 2017 at Buckingham Palace and “kicked off the social season in London” in the run-up to Pippa Middleton’s wedding on May 20.
After Kate and Prince William return from celebrating Pippa’s wedding to James Matthews, the royal family will gather for a preview of the Chelsea Flower Show, another glossy social event for the British upper class.
[Featured Image by Chris Jackson/Getty Images]