Splash of colour! Queen, 93, dons an eye-catching pink coat in Cambridge

She might be 93 years old, but the Queen proved she is determined to remain independent as she stepped out for an engagement today.

The monarch firmly refused the offer of help as she stepped up to plant a tree at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), in Cambridge, this afternoon. 

When asked whether she would perform the task on her own, the Queen replied: ‘No, no, I’m still perfectly capable of planting a tree’.

However the active royal did ask an assistant to temporarily hold her famous Launer bag, joking: ‘I can’t do both’, before picking up the shovel and moving soil onto the plant’s roots in an already-dug hole. 

Independent: The Queen firmly refused the offer of help as she stepped up to plant a tree at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), in Cambridge, this afternoon, pictured

Independent: The Queen firmly refused the offer of help as she stepped up to plant a tree at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), in Cambridge, this afternoon, pictured

Independent: The Queen firmly refused the offer of help as she stepped up to plant a tree at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), in Cambridge, this afternoon, pictured

Defiant: When asked whether she would perform the task on her own, the Queen replied: 'No, no, I'm still perfectly capable of planting a tree,' before picking up the shovel, pictured

Defiant: When asked whether she would perform the task on her own, the Queen replied: 'No, no, I'm still perfectly capable of planting a tree,' before picking up the shovel, pictured

Defiant: When asked whether she would perform the task on her own, the Queen replied: ‘No, no, I’m still perfectly capable of planting a tree,’ before picking up the shovel, pictured

The royal was on hand to mark the centenary of the NIAB, which conducts research into crops. 

Typically polished, the Queen brought a splash of colour to proceedings with her eye-catching tweed jacket and matching hat. 

She accessoried with her favourite string of pearls, a pretty broach and a posy of exotic faux flowers and greenery at the brim of her hat. 

The royal finished the look with her favourite black shoes, matching handbag, and a pair of white gloves. 

However the active royal did ask an assistant to temporarily hold her famous Launer bag, joking: 'I can't do both', before making her way to the tree

However the active royal did ask an assistant to temporarily hold her famous Launer bag, joking: 'I can't do both', before making her way to the tree

However the active royal did ask an assistant to temporarily hold her famous Launer bag, joking: ‘I can’t do both’, before making her way to the tree

Warm welcome: The Queen was vibrant in a pink suit as she arrived for a day of engagements in Cambridge. Her first stop was the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, pictured

Warm welcome: The Queen was vibrant in a pink suit as she arrived for a day of engagements in Cambridge. Her first stop was the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, pictured

Warm welcome: The Queen was vibrant in a pink suit as she arrived for a day of engagements in Cambridge. Her first stop was the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, pictured

Pink perfection: Typically polished, the Queen brought a splash of colour to proceedings with her eye-catching tweed coat and matching hat, pictured

Pink perfection: Typically polished, the Queen brought a splash of colour to proceedings with her eye-catching tweed coat and matching hat, pictured

The Queen smiled as she arrived at the NIAB this morning

The Queen smiled as she arrived at the NIAB this morning

Pink perfection: Typically polished, the Queen brought a splash of colour to proceedings with her eye-catching tweed coat and matching hat, pictured

Historic: The Queen signed the visitor's book on an outing to mark the centenary of the NIAB

Historic: The Queen signed the visitor's book on an outing to mark the centenary of the NIAB

Historic: The Queen signed the visitor’s book on an outing to mark the centenary of the NIAB

Informative tour: The Queen viewed an exhibition celebrating 100 years of crop research

Informative tour: The Queen viewed an exhibition celebrating 100 years of crop research

Informative tour: The Queen viewed an exhibition celebrating 100 years of crop research

The Queen toured an exhibition celebrating 100 years of crop research at the institution before planting the tree and unveiling a plaque. 

One of the centre’s longest-serving employees Teresa Stratton handed the Queen a posy of chrysanthemums, roses and wheat before the monarch left in a waiting Bentley.

Ms Stratton, 58, who has worked at NIAB for 41 years, said she told the Queen of other crops that NIAB is working on.

‘We’re the only place in the UK that does grape research and she was very interested,’ said Ms Stratton. 

Beaming Queen: The royal smiled as she was greeted on arrival to the NIAB in Cambridge

Beaming Queen: The royal smiled as she was greeted on arrival to the NIAB in Cambridge

Beaming Queen: The royal smiled as she was greeted on arrival to the NIAB in Cambridge

Floral fancy: The Queen's hat was accessorised with faux flowers and greenery at the brim

Floral fancy: The Queen's hat was accessorised with faux flowers and greenery at the brim

The Queen smiled as she arrived at the engagement

The Queen smiled as she arrived at the engagement

Floral fancy: The Queen’s hat was accessorised with faux flowers and greenery at the brim

VIP visitor: The Queen first visited the NIAB in 1969 and is now marking its centenary

VIP visitor: The Queen first visited the NIAB in 1969 and is now marking its centenary

VIP visitor: The Queen first visited the NIAB in 1969 and is now marking its centenary

‘She told us they were growing vines at Windsor and although she probably wouldn’t drink the wine she was quite interested in it.’

Chief executive Dr Tina Barsby said: ‘I mentioned that English wines were becoming more and more popular and better quality, and she said she doesn’t drink wine but she hears they’re very good.’ 

The Queen later had lunch at Queen’s College University of Cambridge, before formally opening  the Royal Papworth Hospital.

Accompanied by the Duchess of Gloucester they will tour the hospital’s new building, also visiting the catheter laboratories and the critical care unit.

As Britain’s leading heart and lung hospital, the Royal Papworth treats more than 100,000 patients from across the country each year and carried out the UK’s first successful heart transplant in 1979.

After meeting recent transplant patients and consultants, the Queen and Brigitte will then unveil a plaque to mark the formal opening of the hospital.

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