Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip were welcomed by thousands of fans when they visited Milton Keynes to mark the town’s 40th anniversary yesterday (29.11.07).

Popular on LondonNet

The royal pair were greeted by 1,500 flag-waving residents as they arrived in the town centre, with the queen receiving so many bouquets during her walkabout her aides struggled to carry them all.

At one point the monarch – who was wearing a purple outfit and hat with a black leaf design – paused to study a modern sculpture by artist Peter Freeman.

The 8ft high silver baton is studded with LED lights, the colours of which can be changed by onlookers texting words to the sculpture on their mobile phones.

Freeman said: ‘She took a good look and seemed very amused. Obviously it was a proud moment for me to see her take an interest.’

The queen then visited the town’s Stadium:mk, where more than 21,000 people watched her meet players from football team MK Dons, before releasing a red balloon to mark the anniversary.

The queen also attended an exhibition telling the story of Milton Keynes’ 40 years, where she met sportsmen and women from the town who hope to compete at the Olympic Games, or its equivalent for disabled athletes, the Paralympics.

During the royal couple’s first trip to the town in 15 years, the pair were also entertained by a choir made up of members of the Congolese community in Milton Keynes, a Bhangra dancing troupe and Ambika Mandal, a traditional Hindu worship.