Looking 'Lovely,' the Queen Takes Tea with the Local Ladies
The weather may have been foggy and gray, but the Queen was looking pretty in pink on Thursday.
Queen Elizabeth, in a bright magenta coat and dress (and carrying her trusty purse, of course!), was back among the local ladies as she took tea with friends during her annual low-key visit to her local Women’s Institute (WI).
After battling a heavy cold during the holidays, she received a warm welcome upon arriving at a humble village hall near her Sandringham House country home. Stepping out of her Range Rover, she was given a curtsy by Yvonne Browne, vice president of the WI in West Newton, Norfolk, about 110 miles north of London.
“It was wonderful, and she looked lovely,” local Mary Relph tells PEOPLE. “After her severe cold it was lovely to see her. She looked so pretty in that color.”
The Queen, 90, had tea and cake and laughed along to a fun version of Cinderella among about 30 women. She was also entertained by a presentation on author Jane Austen by historian and Secrets of the Six Wives host Lucy Worsley.
Browne tells PEOPLE the event “went really well.”
“We put on the Sandringham WI version of Cinderella,” she says. “She seemed to enjoy it. We was very relaxed and chatted. We had a lovely afternoon.”
And the Queen, Browne says, appears to have mostly recovered from the cold that kept her indoors for the bulk of the holidays.
“She’s still got a cough like a lot of us have. It’s been a very nasty virus and she’s been a trooper to have done as well as she has quite honestly,” Browne says. “She’s an amazing lady to be nearly 91 and to have had this awful cold virus. I think she’s done exceptionally well. We are proud of her and I hope everyone else is.”
Of her presentation, Worsley says, “I talked about Jane Austen, as it is her bicentenary and she’s going to be on the bank note. I was going to say she’s going to be the first woman on a bank note but, of course, the first person is sitting here in the front row!”
She confessed to the moment being “a bit nerve-wracking.”
“But it was all right. I just love talking to people about history, and I got the chance to do it today to possibly the most amazing audience I’ll ever have,” she adds.
The Queen also presented trophies from the year’s competitions, though unlike in years past, she didn’t give a speech — likely because of her recent illness, Browne says.
The Queen, who is president of the national Women’s Institute Federation, makes a point of popping in for one of the group’s New Year meetings when she’s staying at Sandringham House.
“She knows a lot of the ladies because she’s known them a lot of her life,” Browne says. “The Queen’s been coming since 1943 since before she was head of state!”
Thursday saw foggy and chilly temperatures (around 38 degrees) as the Queen arrived for the meeting, which she has attended annually throughout most of the past 74 years.