The doors of The Ivy were closed to members of the public on Thursday evening to welcome a very special guest. The Queen attended an invitation-only party at the exclusive Covent Garden restaurant to celebrate a friend's birthday. Other lucky invitees included David Walliams and the Queen's cousin Prince Michael and wife Princess Michael of Kent. The 91-year-old monarch was in high spirits as she arrived for the celebrations. She was elegantly dressed in an embellished silver dress, shielded from the inclement weather in a black printed shawl.
The Queen was in high spirits as she arrived at The Ivy in London's Covent Garden
The Ivy is a favourite amongst celebrity diners – but the pressure was on for executive chef Gary Lee as he prepared to serve his fare to the Queen. The A La Carte menu at The Ivy features classic British favourites, including deep-fried haddock and chips with mushy peas for £19, Shepherd's Pie at £19.50, slow braised Cornish lamb at £24.50 and grilled calves liver for £23.50. There is also a selection of Asian cuisine available, from coconut and prawn laksa at £8.75, to yellow fin tuna sashimi, £16.50, and black ash sesame tiger prawns for £14.75.
The monarch pictured leaving the birthday celebrations at the end of the evening
It's thought to be the first time the Queen has dined out since March 2016. It also marked a departure from her restaurant of choice – Bellamy's in Mayfair. The French brasserie and oyster bar clearly holds a special place in the Queen's heart; it's one of the very few restaurants she has ever dined in. She enjoyed an evening out at Bellamy's in March last year with her daughter Princess Anne and cousin Princess Alexandra, and while it is not known what the royals ate, they may well have dined on Bellamy's signature dishes including steak tartare, venison medallions or grilled swordfish, which all feature on the evening menu. For dessert, crème brûlée, tarte tatin and ile flottante are all popular options.