updated 05/21/2007 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 05/21/2007 AT 01:00 AM EDT
In the days that followed, Elizabeth graciously endured a 21-gun salute, blaring bands and countless speeches (though a bungled line by President Bush about the U.S. bicentennial drew a stare). Along the way from Jamestown to her first Kentucky Derby to a white-tie state dinner, she seemed to suffer gawkers gladly. When actor Mickey Rooney grabbed and kissed her hand at a British Embassy garden party—breaching etiquette (see box)—the Queen beamed. "She doesn't really mind when someone acts in an earthy way," says etiquette expert Charles Mosley. "She rather likes a bit of this, providing it doesn't go on too long." An unannounced chat with kids, though, made this royal grandmother's eyes light up. She enjoys such moments, says a Palace spokeswoman, "because they are informal and spontaneous"—which, for a woman who seemingly has everything, are precious indeed.