A guest list fit for a prince! The Queen joins Harry, Zara and Kate at Kensington Palace for George's first birthday party (and Granny Middleton is there too)

 

The cake was iced, the sandwiches made and the balloons blown up and hanging from the ceiling. All that was needed was the guests and with Prince George the birthday boy, they were never going to be ordinary.

 

The most important guest was his great-grandmother, the Queen, who could be seen perched in the back seat of her car as she was driven through the gates of Kensington Palace in London, and spent 50 minutes with her great-grandson.

 

Looking summery in a floral patterned dress and her trademark pearls with bright red lipsick, the Queen looked delighted to be attending - and even got her car to slow down as it drove past the cheering crowds that lined the route to the palace.

 

Earlier in the day Kate, accompanied by her nanny, Maria Borallo, and a police protection officer, drove George to Buckingham Palace so the little prince could see his great-grandfather, Prince Philip, who was unable to attend the party due to work commitments.

 

Favourite cousin: The Middletons were followed by Zara Phillips, reportedly William and Harry's favourite cousin, who arrived with her husband Mike and daughter Mia

 

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Arriving at around 11am, they spent an hour at the Queen’s official residence and as they were inside the band of the Irish Guards played a tuneful rendition of Happy Birthday in honour of George’s big day.

 

The little prince’s doting grandfather Prince Charles, who also missed Prince William’s first birthday as he and his then wife, Princess Diana, were on tour in Canada, was also away, this time in Scotland on official duties.

 

But he looked delighted after being given a large cuddly toy red squirrel to take home to his grandson as he visited a Perthshire estate.

 

The first guests to arrive were Kate’s parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, who drove in through the palace gates shortly after 3pm in matching Range Rovers.

 

Despite being thought to have organised the party, there was no hint as to whether Carole had brought along a few bits and bobs from Party Pieces, her online partyware store, to make the afternoon go with a swing.

 

Shortly afterwards another of the godparents, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, arrived on foot clutching a large rectangular-shaped present, wrapped in brightly coloured paper.

 

Jamie LP, as he is known in royal circles, is one of William’s most trusted and long-serving aides. Although he recently retired from his role as Principal Private Secretary to William, Kate and Harry, the former army officer was immediately re-appointed as William’s ‘Extra Equerry’, so trusted is his counsel.

 

Other godparents to arrive included Emilia d’Erlanger, one of Kate’s closest friends from her days at Marlborough College, and William van Cutsem, a childhood friend of the prince.

 

Julia Samuel, a confidante of William’s late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, and another of George’s god-parents, was also driven in by car.

 

Heads turned as Kate’s heavily-bearded brother, James Middleton, zipped in driving a £60,000 convertible F-type Jaguar, while Aunty Pippa was dropped off in a black taxi.

 

The Queen’s grand-daughter and William’s cousin, Zara Philips, fresh from competing in an equestrian event on the continent, was among the last to arrive and drove in with her husband, Mike Tindall.

 

Godmother Zara laughed and smiled at the waiting crowds as they roared past. Although she could not be seen, it is believed the couple’s own baby daughter, Mia, was in the back of their car.

 

According to palace sources, Uncle Prince Harry – sure to be the life and soul of even a children’s tea party – strolled over from his cottage in the palace grounds to join in the fun.

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