King Charles III has commenced his 75th birthday celebrations with a tea party at Highgrove Gardens.
His Majesty, 74, was greeted to an early gathering ahead of his milestone tomorrow, with applause from guests and a rendition of ‘Hallelujah’ playing in the background.
The early birthday party, hosted by The Prince’s Foundation, was attended by a host of guests, including The Repair Shop‘s Jay Blades – who was seen coming into the room behind Charles – as well as celebrity chef Raymond Blanc.
Charles let slip a playful eye roll as guests sang him Happy Birthday ahead of cutting his white and gold cake.
Monday’s early birthday bash comes ahead of the King’s main event tomorrow – which is set to take place at Clarence Court.
Guests invited to attend the monarch’s gathering today include local residents who have been nominated by friends and family and individuals and organisations also turning 75 this year.
The King greeted his guests and was even seen taking selfies at the event – where tiers of afternoon tea were on display.
Among the guests in attendance was Jessie Stephens, sitter of the Windrush: Portraits of a Pioneering Generation.
The afternoon birthday gathering also featured a performance from the Rock Choir and a cake designed by Jan Blackmore from Buttercup Pantry.
Charles’ gathering tomorrow with coincide with the announcement of an anti-waste initiative reflecting his growing concerns about food poverty in Britain.
Charles will unveil the Coronation Food Project to coincide with his landmark day on November 14 after making an undisclosed substantial private donation to start the venture.
Eight food hubs will be launched across the nation with the first four opening in London, Liverpool, Glasgow and Northern Ireland.
Others will follow in Cardiff, Leeds, Birmingham and Milton Keynes. Dame Martina Milburn will oversee the project after finishing her tenure as chief executive of The Prince’s Trust, the charity Charles set up to help young people.
The King is focusing on the issue as Britain throws away more food than any other European country.
Dame Martina was asked earlier this year to explore ways of reducing the 12million tons of food wasted each year in the UK and help the estimated 14million Britons living in food poverty.
The Coronation Food Project would last for five years and aim to provide 200million meals a year as well as necessities for keeping food fresh such as refrigerators.
Dame Martina said: ‘I was really surprised and all the charities we have contacted to date have said the same thing – we have a waiting list of organisations who want the food.’
Charles’s first birthday, in 1949, was marked by a studio portrait taken by a photographer born in 1875, when Benjamin Disraeli was Prime Minister and the FA Cup Final was contested by the Royal Engineers and a team of Old Etonians.
By his 30th in 1978, that staid world seemed an age away. Charles threw a birthday party at Buckingham Palace with entertainment provided by his favourite musicians, glamorous US disco trio the Three Degrees.