London: Catchy Punjabi tunes echoed through the Buckingham Palace as a bhangra troupe took centrestage at the opening of the four-day Coronation Festival marking 60 years of reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
Spirited performances by the UK-based musical group Dhol Foundation`s dancers and musicians in vibrant clothes and turbans joined the East London Dance Company to perform "The Family Tree" as the Queen, joined by Prince Charles and wife Camilla Parker-Bowles, looked on from the royal box.
The specially choreographed sequence was designed to signify the role of the Queen as the Head of the Commonwealth, which comprises 54 countries including India.
The gala on Thursday, which was headlined by teenage musicians of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, marked the start of a sold-out festival to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Queen`s reign.
It brings together royal suppliers, led by Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), to the palace grounds as a showcase of British "innovation, excellence and industry".
Pavillions and marquees featuring more than 200 brands took over the lawns of the Queen`s official residence in the heart of London, with the 87-year-old monarch hopping aboard a stately golf buggy to tour some of the stands on Thursday.
The festival, the first commercial event to be held inside the palace grounds, is staged by the Royal Warrant Holders Association and is now open to the public at a cost of GBP 30 for a day, and GBP 90 for an evening gala featuring British musicians including classical singer Katherine Jenkins.
Nearly 60,000 visitors are expected over the next few days, including overseas buyers.
Royal warrants are issued to companies which have provided goods or services to the Householders of The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh or The Prince of Charles. The title, seen as a mark of excellence, allows them to display a royal coat of arms on their goods.
"The event showcases an array of endeavour and talent, exemplified by those companies which hold the royal warrant.
The Queen very much hopes it will be an enjoyable experience for all," said Air Marshal Sir David Walker, Master of The Queen`s Household.
JLR, as the official motor partner of the event, had a wide display of its heritage cars as well as some of the latest models.
Alongside Savile Row tailors, there are jewellers, chocolatiers and fine wine merchants and exhibitors including the makers of Prince Charles`s swimming pool, suppliers of the bedding for the royal stables, and even the pest controllers who keep palace rats in check.