An unseen portrait of the Queen seen beaming ear to ear has been released by Buckingham Palace on the eve of her funeral.
The photograph, taken in May ahead of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, shows the monarch smiling brightly at the camera in her Windsor Castle home.
In a televised tribute to her mother-in-law on Sunday evening, the Queen Consort recalled the Queen’s “wonderful blue eyes” and said: “I will always remember her smile.”
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The Queen, who is dressed in a dusky dove blue dress with her hair neatly curled, is wearing her favourite three-strand pearl necklace, pearl earrings and her aquamarine and diamond clip brooches which were an 18th birthday present from her father George VI in 1944.
The two art deco-style pieces, worn one below the other, were made by Boucheron from baguette, oval and round diamonds and aquamarines.
The Queen wore the brooches when she addressed the nation on the 75th anniversary of VE Day in 2020 and for her Diamond Jubilee televised speech in 2012.
The image was taken by photographer Ranald Mackechnie, who also took the jubilee portrait of the Queen released to mark the start of national festivities of her milestone 70-year reign.
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The Queen celebrated her Platinum Jubilee with the nation just three months before she died, as the country heralded its longest reigning monarch.
Watch the Queen lying in state
Nation’s final farewell to Queen Elizabeth II
The newly released photograph comes as the new King issued a message of thanks to the nation as it prepares to say a “last farewell” to the Queen.
King Charles offered his gratitude to “all those countless people” who had offered “support and comfort” following his mother’s death.
“In London, Edinburgh, Hillsborough and Cardiff we were moved beyond measure by everyone who took the trouble to come and pay their respects to the lifelong service of my dear mother, The late Queen,” he said in a statement released by Buckingham Palace.
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The King will lead the nation in mourning for its longest reigning monarch on Monday as Westminster Abbey stages a spectacular state funeral for Elizabeth II.
Two thousand people including foreign royals, world leaders, presidents and prime ministers will flock to the gothic church for a day of pageantry, military processions and solemnity in honour of the late Queen.
The last Briton to be given a state funeral was Winston Churchill in 1965.
Millions will be watching from home and around the world, as the funeral could become the most watched television broadcast in history.
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