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Comment 24 MAY 2012

What did Bono say to make the Queen giggle?

24 MAY 2012

It was the biggest gathering ever seen of the UK's most glittering members of the music and arts world.

Sir Paul McCartney rubbed shoulders with Bono and Vivienne Westwood, while Kenneth Branagh chatted to Dame Shirley Bassey – and they were all gathered together in London's Royal Academy, to pay tribute to the Queen.


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Bono made the 86-year-old laugh when he praised her trip to the Republic of Ireland last year.

He joked: "And the Queen spoke Gaelic, I can't even speak Gaelic."

There were 850 leading cultural figures at the reception to mark the monarch's Diamond Jubilee, and the number included newcomers like model Agyness Deyn and rapper Tinie Tempah. 

Dame Vivienne said she had changed her opinion about the monarchy since the Seventies era of punk, when her design career took off.

"At one time I thought the Queen represented all the political hypocrisy of England," she said.

"I realised they're above politics. I think they are a social cement and the job she does is incredible."



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The monarch met Joan Collins, who admitted she was "a great admirer".

She added: "I always want to know what she keeps in the handbag."

There was a special photo opportunity, when the monarch posed with 20 artistic dames.

Among them were soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, and actress Dames Joan Plowright, Janet Suzman, Diana Rigg and Harriet Walter.

Dame Diana said the occasion was "absolutely wonderful".

When asked if British culture had seen a golden age she said: "I think Britain continually improves itself and redefines itself.

"This year happens to be particularly special, with the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympics at the same time. I think an entirely new, brilliant Britain is going to emerge."

The distinguished guests

  • From the music world: Sir Paul McCartney, Bono, Dame Shirley Bassey, Jamie Cullum, Tinie Tempah, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.
  • Fashion luminaries and models: Dame Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith, Jasper Conran, Zandra Rhodes, Agyness Deyn, Lily Cole, Sophie Dahl.
  • Acting talent: Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Maureen Lipman, Joanna Lumley, Michael Sheen, Robert Lindsay, Tom Courtenay, Richard Briers, Martin Clunes, Joan Collins.
  • From the world of theatre: Sir Tom Stoppard, Mike Leigh, Sir Ronald Harwood, Sir Trevor Nunn, Sir Peter Hall, Sir Nicholas Hytner
  • Arts visionaries: David Hockney, Grayson Perry, David Bailey, Sam Taylor-Wood, Tracey Emin,
  • Novelists: Julian Barnes, Michael Morpurgo and Philip Pullman
  • Chefs: Richard Corrigan, Atul Kochhar and Yotam Ottolenghi


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