04:15AM, Tuesday 30 April 2013
Windsor lived up to its world famous reputation for pomp and ceremony today as the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh welcomed the president of the United Arab Emirates to lunch.
Crowds started gathering the length of Windsor High Street and Thames Street from before 10am. The wait was worth it.
Two hours later an escort from the Household Cavalry wearing traditional plumed helmets and silver breastplates lead a royal coach procession through the centre of town to the castle.
Moments earlier the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh had greeted His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on a specially set up royal dais in Datchet Road. They were joined by the Mayor of Windsor and Maidenhead Cllr Colin Rayner, mayoress Samantha Rayner and the Duke of York and Windsor MP Adam Afriyie.
The carriage procession that followed gave the chance to cheer and enthusiastically wave the British and Arab Emirate flags that had been liberally handed out along the route by last year's Olympic ambassadors.
Hundreds of soldiers from the Grenadier Guards and Scots Guards also lined the streets, standing to attention just feet away from the crowds.
Soldiers from the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery had played their part by firing a 21-gun salute from Home Park as the president arrived at the dais in his car.
As the Queen, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed and his entourage passed flag-waving crowds in their coaches they were accompanied on their journey by the Band of the Grenadier Guards in River Street and the Band of the Scots Guards at the top of Peascod Street.
The royal procession then moved into the quadrangle of Windsor Castle where the President, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh reviewed a Guard of Honour from the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards.
After a state luncheon at Windsor Castle the Queen and the Duke said goodbye to the president at the Sovereign's entrance.
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