The Queen has held a rare face-to-face audience at Windsor Castle, meeting the Australian prime minister, who told her she was “quite the hit” at the G7 summit.
Wearing a vibrant yellow floral dress, the monarch was seen standing with her hands behind her back as she chatted to Scott Morrison in the Berkshire royal residence’s Oak Room on Tuesday.
It is the first time the head of state has been photographed carrying out an audience in person, rather than virtually, since March 2020, just before England’s first lockdown.
The Queen, who is also monarch of Australia, was photographed smiling warmly as she met Mr Morrison.
Mr Morrison remarked of the Queen’s recent visit to Cornwall to meet G7 leaders: “You were quite the hit. Everyone was talking about you at dinner the next night.”
The Queen replied: “Oh Lord. Were they really?”
Mr Morrison added: “They were. They were thrilled to see you.”
Since the start of the pandemic, the Queen has held scores of virtual audiences at Windsor, with guests usually speaking to her via video-link from Buckingham Palace.
She told Mr Morrison: “Very nice to see you – in person this time.”
A flat-screen TV could be seen in the background of the room, amid the armchairs, cushions, antique furniture and bright red carpet.
The monarch was later watching the racing at Royal Ascot on television at the castle after the five-day meet began on Tuesday.
She has a runner, King’s Lynn, in the 15.40 King’s Stand Stakes.
The Queen’s racing manager John Warren has said the monarch, a keen horse breeder, is hoping to attend the Berkshire racecourse later in the week.
Last week, the Queen travelled to Cornwall to host an open-air reception at the Eden Project for the G7 summit, attended a mini Trooping for her official 95th birthday, and welcomed US President Joe Biden to tea at Windsor Castle.
Just days after the Duke of Edinburgh’s death in April, the Queen held an in-person audience with her former Lord Chamberlain Earl Peel, and then had another with his replacement Baron Parker of Minsmere, but was not photographed doing so.
The Queen was last pictured conducting a face-to-face audience on March 18 2020 with the outgoing and incoming commanding officers of HMS Queen Elizabeth.
She left Buckingham Palace a day later for the safety of Windsor ahead of the start of lockdown on March 23.