STUDENTS at an Oxford college were “absolutely thrilled” to welcome the Queen yesterday as she arrived to celebrate a landmark birthday, writes Andrew Ffrench.

After Her Majesty toured new galleries at the Ashmolean Museum in Beaumont Street, she was driven to Brasenose College in Radcliffe Square, which is celebrating its 500th anniversary.

The Queen was welcomed by Prof Roger Cashmore, the principal of the Oxford University college, and Prof Richard Cooper, the vice-principal.

Staff, undergraduates and alumni of the college gathered in Old Quad to welcome the Queen, who joined staff and students for lunch before visiting the college chapel and unveiling a plaque.

Ellie Stonham, 21, a third-year geography student at Brasenose, said: “I’m unbelievably excited to see the Queen here — it’s the highlight of the term so far.”

Members of the public gathered in Radcliffe Square to welcome the Queen.

Teresa Curtis, 35, from San Francisco, who waited outside the college for the Queen to arrive, said: “My husband Karl is doing an MBA at the Said Business School and he has got a ticket to the lunch, which is very exciting.”

Jennifer Lewis, director of alumni relations and development for Brasenose College, said: “Elias Ashmole, the founder of the Ashmolean Museum, was a student at Brasenose, so it is particularly fitting.”

Mel Parrott, domestic bursar, said 400 people at the college gathered.

She added: “The students are absolutely thrilled by the Queen’s visit and the college is very honoured — this is the pinnacle of our anniversary celebrations, following our alumni weekend in September which was attended by 900 former staff and students.”

Ms Parrott said her mother Annette, 74, was in the crowd in 1948 to witness the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, visit the college.

Dr Andrew Stockley, senior tutor at the college, added: “It’s absolutely wonderful that the Queen has come to visit — the students are particularly excited.”

Sophie Core, 20, a history student, at Brasenose, said there had been a “big buzz” around the college in the weeks leading up to the visit.

“It’s a very nice way to round off the anniversary celebrations,” she added.