Queen pictured standing without walking stick in face-to-face meeting

Queen Elizabeth II smiled broadly as she posed for photos with the president of Switzerland, Ignazio Cassis

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The Queen looked on cheery form as she held a face-to-face audience with the president of Switzerland at Windsor Castle – her first official engagement since a week-long break on the Sandringham estate.

The monarch smiled broadly as she shook hands and posed for photographs with Ignazio Cassis and his wife Paola in her Oak Room sitting room.

On Wednesday evening, her second son, the disgraced Duke of York, was stripped of his Freedom of York by councillors in the city, amid further calls for him to have his dukedom removed.

The Queen
The Queen

The Queen returned to her Berkshire castle a day ago after staying at the late Duke of Edinburgh’s Wood Farm cottage where she celebrated her 96th birthday.

She stood without her walking stick and was dressed in a blue and grey paisley-style patterned silk dress for the audience on Thursday.

<p>Queen Elizabeth II poses for a photo with the President of Switzerland Ignazio Cassis and his wife Paola Cassis during an audience at Windsor Castle<br></p>

Queen Elizabeth II poses for a photo with the President of Switzerland Ignazio Cassis and his wife Paola Cassis during an audience at Windsor Castle

She was wearing her fruit-themed sapphire and diamond grapes brooch, which features a sapphire bow and 16 small diamonds shaped like a bunch of grapes. It was inherited from the Queen Mother.

Buckingham Palace said the sovereign is hoping to attend the State Opening of Parliament in less than two weeks’ time, on May 10, but confirmation is expected closer to the time or on the day.

Her high-profile Platinum Jubilee celebrations are just over a month away.

The Queen, who has experienced mobility issues in recent months, has opened Parliament on all but two occasions during her reign.

The exceptions were in 1959 and 1963, when she was pregnant with Andrew and then Prince Edward, when her speech was read by the Lord Chancellor.