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Queen Elizabeth makes birthday visit to BBC

Written by: Staff

LONDON, Apr 20 (Reuters) Queen Elizabeth today visited two venerable British institutions -- the BBC and Chatham House -- who, like her, are celebrating life at 80.

The monarch, who turns 80 tomorrow, met BBC stars and was given a glimpse of its history through the ages since 1926 when the public broadcaster was granted its royal charter.

During a tour of Broadcasting House, the home of BBC Radio, she was shown an iPod loaded with podcasts and a microphone that her grandfather, King George V, used for his Christmas broadcasts.

Terry Wogan, Chris Evans and Chris Moyles were among presenters lined up to meet her. She also listened to a recording of Radio 4's Woman's Hour.

Next stop was The Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House, which was also granted its royal charter in 1926, the year the Queen was born.

She listened to a debate on the World in 2020 under the renowned ''Chatham House rules'' whereby the identity of the speakers and participants cannot be reported.

Prime Minister Tony Blair's cabinet held a whip-round to buy a birthday present for the monarch.

But Blair's spokesman refused to reveal who chipped in how much and would only say: ''The cabinet has contributed as a whole.'' Reuthers SHB BST1852

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