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The Queen's Handbag

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The Queen's Handbag

The Children's Party at the Palace was an event organized by Peter Orton of Hit Entertainment and David Johnstone of DJI consult, held at Buckingham Palace Garden on 25 June 2006 in honour of the 80th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. The event, which had the theme British children's literature, was attended by 2,000 children and 1,000 adults[1] who were chosen through a national ballot.[2] On arrival all guests received a purple hamper with snacks put together by Jamie Oliver.[3] For the occasion, the palace grounds were transformed into scenes from children's books including places like the Hundred Acre Wood and 80 costumed characters and a model of the BFG sitting at a huge piano.[3] The grounds also had an author's corner where authors like J. K. Rowling, Philip Pullman, Eric Hill and Raymond Briggs read from their books and signed autographs.[4]

The Queen's Handbag

The main attraction of the party was a pantomime-style play called The Queen's Handbag, written by children's author and playwright David Wood OBE and directed by Sir Trevor Nunn,[5] which was performed on a stage resembling Buckingham Palace and broadcast live on both BBC1 and the CBBC channel.

In the play, the villains of children's literature were angry to find out none of them had been invited to the party, so they decided to ruin the party for the goodies too. After multiple failed attempts, one of them manages to steal the Queen's Handbag. Without its contents, her reading glasses, the Queen won't be able to deliver her closing speech. Multiple scenes of the play, including a scene starring Harry Potter and his friends, were pre-recorded and played on large video screens.[6] The play ended with a rendition of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" by the entire cast, led by the London company of the musical Mary Poppins. Throughout the programme, the audience was kept up-to-date about the status of the missing handbag with reports from both BBC News and Crimewatch. The use of a fake newsflash caused complaints to be made to the BBC.[7]


Roald Dahl characters

The Railway Series by the Reverend W. Awdry

Peter and Wendy by J. M. Barrie

Enid Blyton characters

Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers


Harry Potter inset

The Harry Potter sequence was a 2:55 long video clip filmed on the set of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The clip featured actors Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Matthew Lewis reprising their roles as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and Neville Longbottom, respectively, and their attempt to help find the Queen's lost handbag using their magical knowledge. A line of dialogue references a character named Peeves, who is a recurring character in the original Potter novels, but was omitted from the film adaptations.

Videoclip and stills

  • The Queen's Handbag – 'Harry Potter' clip at Daniel Radcliffe's website
  • The Queen's Handbag – 'Harry Potter' clip at Emma Watson's website
  • YouTube


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