AS SHE tucked into a lunch of mackerel and venison yesterday, the Queen was staring straight at a seven foot portrait which she might have found familiar.
The huge painting of herself was commissioned in celebration of her Golden Jubilee and hangs in the 17th century hall of Oriel College, where she has a rather special position.
By virtue of her position as monarch, The Queen holds the role of Visitor at Oriel College, which means she oversees the institution and can intervene in its internal affairs.
Sir Derek Morris, the provost of Oriel, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be welcoming her today and we hope she has a nice time.
“As visitor she is the ultimate authority at the college and when she visits she always takes an interest in what is going on here.”
When she arrived at Oriel College she was greeted not only by a crowd of cheering people in the street outside but also by a throng of students and staff as she walked in through the huge wooden doors.
Despite the cold, they had gathered on the neatly-mown lawn in the college’s Front Quad and clapped as the monarch and the Duke of Edinburgh made their way past them.
As Her Majesty arrived she was handed some flowers by Margaret Kittle, who had travelled all the way from Canada to see her. Ms Kittle said: “She is our Queen too. It is a long way to come but I don’t know whose travelling days are going to be shorter, hers or mine.”
After being welcomed to the college the Queen sat down for lunch before meeting head chef Steve Morris, from Marston, and his staff.
He said: “I have cooked for the Royal family before but it is always a privilege to do so.
“She came up to me and asked if I cooked the meal and I asked her if she enjoyed it, which she said she did very much.”
As she left more students and staff gathered in the quad, forming a guard of honour after she signed the visitors’ book.
She was also given a bunch of flowers by Mary Porter, the longest-serving member of staff at the college who has been working there for 44 years.
The Headington resident, who began working in the college bursary in 1969, said: “It was a very nice honour and I was privileged to be able to meet the Queen. “I was delighted to present the bouquet on behalf of all the staff here.
“I have enjoyed my 44 years working at Oriel. It has been a real honour to work here.”