Queen Camilla said her husband was "very cross" he couldn't accompany her on her trip to Sussex yesterday.

At a tea party in Lamb House, Rye, Camilla told actor Timothy West, who was among the guests, that King Charles had wanted to come along too and that he sent his best wishes.

Her Majesty was in Rye to meet representatives from a variety of community organisations at St Mary Church in Church Street and visit Lamb House, a Grade II listed National Trust property.

Bells were rung as the Queen, who was wearing a blue silk dress with a peacock feather pattern, arrived outside the church.

She stepped out of the car to enthusiastic cheers from the waiting crowds and was greeted by excited schoolchildren.

She accepted flowers for Charles from member of the public Julie Barker, 59, from Rye, who had been waiting for Her Majesty for an hour and a half with her sister Celia, 70.

Camilla then went inside the church where she met representatives from charities across Rye including the Royal Voluntary Service, of which she is patron.

Representatives from Mothers' Union, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and Royal British Legion were also in attendance.

RNLI crew member Charles Stout, 21, said: “It’s a real privilege and great honour. It's a nice experience to have that I would not have been able to get anywhere else.”

Camilla met RNLI fundraisers Betty Broockes, 92, and Jean Brown, 75. Both have been fundraising for more than 50 years and will be guests at a Buckingham Palace Garden Party next year.

They were thrilled to meet the Queen. Jean said: "It's amazing."

The Queen spent time talking to the volunteers about their work. She met the organisers of the annual Rye Arts Festival, who presented with a gift.

She then walked from the church to Lamb House in West Street where she greeted more crowds, including a dog and two-year-old Bobby Neil.

Bobby's mum Emma Russell, 39, said: "It was amazing. What a memory to have for life."

Camilla toured the rooms of Lamb House, which was home to a number of authors including Henry James and E F Benson, who based his Mapp And Lucia novel on the town, which he named Tilling in the book.

She said the 18th century house’s Oak Room was “perfectly cosy”, especially if a fire was burning.

The Queen also viewed some books in the Green Parlour, where she was told about the different authors who had lived there.

She was handed one of the books, a first edition, and joked that “she wouldn't be able to read it without her specs".

It had been raining all morning but it stopped in time for a garden party in the grounds of Lamb House. Timothy West, who was accompanied by his actor wife Prunella Scales, gave a reading as did actor Hayley Mills.

Camilla met with the Friends of Tilling, the E F Benson Society and staff from the National Trust.

She told volunteers there was not a "weed to be seen" in the immaculate garden and that gardening was her favourite passion.

A commemorative poster detailing Camilla's visit was unveiled.

As she left Lamb House, crowds began chants of "long live the Queen".

Many of the crowd had waited in the rain for hours to catch a glimpse of her and were rewarded with a walkabout.

Melanie Edwards, 63, a dedicated royalist who stood in the downpour for three hours, said: “It’s brilliant, it’s exciting.”

The former mayor of Rye, Andrew Rivett, 60, was also eagerly awaiting Camilla’s arrival.

He said: "It's absolutely wonderful. The Queen Mother also came in the 80s. For her to come along today to thank groups of volunteers is a wonderful thing to do."

James Tindall, who works at nearby Fletchers House Restaurant, said: “It's great for the town. It's brought a lot of people here. It is nice for her to come and visit. It's brought the community together.”

Supporters also showed their love for King Charles who has been undergoing treatment for cancer.

John Gurney, 85, bell keeper of Saint Mary Church, said: “We would like to send our best wishes to the King.”

Another asked the Queen to pass on good wishes to Charles, to which she responded “I sure will, I will pass that on".