Guests at the first Buckingham Palace garden party of the summer have basked in baking sunshine as temperatures at the royal residence soared to 24C.

About 8,000 guests turned out in their best clothes, transforming the expansive lawn into a sea of pastel colours and ornate hats.

The band struck up the National Anthem as the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh appeared at the top of the steps and a hush fell over the assembled crowd.

Then applause broke out as the couple made their way towards their waiting guests, who hailed from all over the country and every walk of life.

The Queen wore a calf length peach coat and matching hat, despite the sweltering heat.

She and the Duke of Edinburgh were joined by the Duke of York, the Princess Royal, the Duke of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, Princess Alexandra the Hon Lady Ogilvy and the Duchess of Gloucester.

Christine Szulik and Dave Roberts from an organisation called Chester the Giant City chatted to the Queen about the 60 14ft fibre glass models of her commissioned by the project for the Jubilee "so each community across Cheshire and Warrington can have one."

Ms Szulik, 54, from Chester, said: "We wanted everyone to have a chance to have the Queen at their party. She saw (the giant versions of her) at a recent visit to Chester Zoo and thought they were really good.

"She thought it was a really good idea for getting the communities involved."