Prince Charles’ cheeky reference to the Queen as “Mummy” has drawn a grimace from the monarch and roars of laughter from the crowd at her star-studded 92nd birthday celebration.
After almost two hours of performances from a string of celebrities, including Australia’s Kylie Minogue, the heir to the British throne joined the Queen on stage to wish her a happy birthday.
“Your Majesty … Mummy,” he began with a smirk.
Then he added in a bit of self-deprecation for good measure.
“I have a feeling that in 1948, when you were 22, you didn’t somehow expect at your 92nd birthday to find your son in his 70th year, so just able to still raise a small hip-hip.”
But his second attempt at humour threw off the crowd. They broke out into an enthusiastic “hooray!” too early, forcing Charles to start the three cheers again.
Gracious throughout, Queen Elizabeth acknowledged the crowd with a smile and her trademark royal wave.
The special concert at London’s Albert Hall on Sunday (Saturday night local time) was a break in tradition for the Queen, who usually spends her birthday privately with little public celebration, although there were nationwide events to mark her 90th.
Welsh singer Tom Jones kicked off the show with his hit It’s Not Unusual, shortly before Elizabeth appeared in the royal box, flanked by her family.
Minogue, Sting, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Shaggy were among those on the bill, along with stars of the stage and screen.
The concert capped off a week in which leaders and dignitaries from 53 countries came to London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and featured performers from the network of mostly former British colonies.
The major beneficiary of the event, televised live on BBC TV and radio, was the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust youth charity, of which her grandson Prince Harry was appointed president this week.
Elizabeth was born on April 21, 1926, and became queen in 1952 at the age of 25, meaning she has now reigned for more than 66 years.
She still carries out official engagements but her husband Prince Philip, who spent 10 days in hospital this month for a hip replacement, retired from public life last year.
As is customary with monarch’s birthdays, soldiers from the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and the Honourable Artillery Company fired gun salutes in London’s Hyde Park and the Tower of London earlier on Saturday.
Elizabeth also has an “official” birthday in June, which is marked with a large parade of soldiers through central London, known as Trooping the Colour.