Just his opening word — ‘Mummy’ — earned him rapturous cheers from the crowd as the Queen, dressed in a gold gown dotted with crystals, looked on plainly delighted.
The prince gently warmed his audience up by making a joke about the terrible weather for Sunday’s river pageant. “If I may say so, thank God it turned out fine!” he said.
He also made a poignant reference to the Duke of Edinburgh who was in hospital, just a few miles away. “The only sad thing about tonight is that my father cannot be here with us because, unfortunately, he’s been taken unwell.”
And he added, “If we shout loud enough he might just be able to hear us in hospital.” Turning to his mother, he paid tribute to ‘the life and service of a very special person’.
Charles told the Queen, “A Diamond Jubilee is a unique and special event, some of us have had the joy of celebrating three jubilees with you, and I have the medals to prove it.”
“So as a nation this is our opportunity to thank you and my father for always being there for us. For inspiring us with your selfless duty and service and for making us proud to be British.”