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Queen visits National Theatre to mark 50 years

Britain's National Theatre marks 50th birthday with visit from Queen Elizabeth II

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, right, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh,  watches a performance of a song from the musical "Guys and Dolls, during a...
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, right, meets Lady Olivier, left, widow of Sir Laurence Olivier, during a visit at the National Theatre in London, Tuesda...
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, right, receives flowers from a child actor as she inspects the horse prop from the...
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, in car, leaves as actors salute using the horse prop from the theatre production 'War Horse' during a visit at the Natio...

Britain Royals National Theatre

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, right, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, watches a performance of a song from the musical "Guys and Dolls, during a...

Britain Royals National Theatre

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, right, meets Lady Olivier, left, widow of Sir Laurence Olivier, during a visit at the National Theatre in London, Tuesda...

Britain Royals National Theatre

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, right, receives flowers from a child actor as she inspects the horse prop from the...

Britain Royals National Theatre

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, in car, leaves as actors salute using the horse prop from the theatre production 'War Horse' during a visit at the Natio...

LONDON (AP) -- Britain's National Theatre is marking its 50th birthday with a visit from Queen Elizabeth II.

The monarch had a backstage tour Tuesday, meeting the widow of founder Laurence Olivier and seeing some of the large equine puppets from the hit show "War Horse."

The company launched on Oct. 22, 1963, with a performance of "Hamlet" starring Peter O'Toole.

Since then it has established a three-auditorium permanent home on the South Bank of the River Thames and spawned productions that have gone around the world.

Recent hits include "One Man, Two Guvnors" and "War Horse," which was made into a Steven Spielberg movie.

The company will celebrate its anniversary on Nov. 2 with a televised live show featuring performances by Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Benedict Cumberbatch and other National Theatre veterans.