Rapture and a rose for the Queen

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The Independent Online

What do you do if you are out of work and it is your 25th birthday? Charles Vandewalle bought a red rosefor the Queen of England.

What do you do if you are out of work and it is your 25th birthday? Charles Vandewalle bought a red rosefor the Queen of England.

He waited for two hours with a crowd at the Rue Montorgeuil, the popular Paris market, to catch the Queen during a brief walkabout onthe second day of her three-day state visit to France.

The young man was in luck. The Queen passed directly in front of him, and when he handed her the rose she looked graciously surprised as if, at 77, she did not expect to be given a flower by a handsome young Frenchman. What did the Queen say? "She said nothing. Not even thank you," he said. "But she gave me a look and it's the look that counts, not the words."

After a relatively muted welcome to the official districts on Monday, the Queen was given a rapturous reception at the Montorgeuil market yesterday. Accompanied by Bertrand Delanoe, the mayor of Paris, she was presented with a large Easter egg, made by the venerable patisserie Stohrer, seller of confectionery since the days France had kings and queens of its own.

On the second day of her state visit to mark the opening of celebrations of the centenary of the Entente Cordiale ­ the official treaty of friendship between Britain and France ­ the Queen attended an equestrian display and met members of the British community at the Louvre. She was given a showing of 15 British paintings, which will be among those shown in a "British gallery" at the Louvre next year.

Speaking to members of both houses of the French parliament at the Senate, the Queen again urged the two countries to "move on from our recent differences" over the US-led invasion of Iraq. She also warned of the dangers of anti-Americanism.

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