Britain's Queen Elizabeth II arrived in Paris today for an increasingly rare foreign visit that will see her feted as France's "super guest of honour" at D-Day commemorations attended by an A-list of world leaders.
The 88-year-old monarch, accompanied by her 92-year-old husband Prince Philip, stepped off a scheduled Eurostar train from London to an enthusiastic welcome from around 300 well-wishers at the French capital's Gare du Nord.
Among them was Margaret Kittle, a Canadian whose late husband Harold fought in the Royal Air Force (RAF) during World War II.
"It's great she's here, she's the only one of the leaders who will be on the beaches tomorrow to have known the war first hand," Kittle said.
"I've seen the queen several times and saw her mother and father before the war in Canada when I was a girl of four. But today is really special."
Melody Zhang, from Beijing but studying in London, added: "I just got to know two hours ago she's coming and I rushed to try and see her. This is the first time I'm seeing her and probably the last. It's really cool I was able to be here."
The 88-year-old British monarch is making her fifth state visit to France.
As well as attending the D-Day 70th anniversary ceremony in Normandy tomorrow, she will attend a state banquet at President Francois Hollande's Elysee Palace tomorrow evening and have Paris's best-known flower market named after her.