ENGLAND'S World Cup rugby heroes completed a day of jubilant celebrations last night as they followed their victory parade through central London with tea at Buckingham Palace and drinks at No. 10 Downing Street.
The victorious players were greeted by screaming fans wherever they went as they showed off the William Webb Ellis trophy on a whirlwind tour of the capital.
The day of official celebrations gave fans, Royals and politicians the chance to show their appreciation for the players, whose 20-17 victory over Australia last month provided the nation with its greatest sporting moment since 1966.
There were carnival scenes as the England team paraded the World Cup in open-top buses through a two-mile scrum of fans who cheered and waved them along.
England flags, red and white ticker tape and celebratory chants accompanied the three buses as they made their way to Trafalgar Square, where they were greeted by a deafening rendition of Swing Low Sweet Chariot.
Captain Martin Johnson said the parade was "absolutely mindblowing" and drop kick hero Jonny Wilkinson said "being on this bus is one of the greatest moments of my life".
Despite freezing conditions, fans had bagged the best vantage points by 9am. Some had been waiting since the previous night to ensure ringside seats.
Scotland Yard estimated a total of 750,000 people watched the hour-long parade which marked last month's last-gasp victory over Australia in Sydney.
Speaking on the bus at Trafalgar Square, Johnson said: "I don't know what to say to be honest with you. It's been absolutely mind-blowing."
London Mayor Ken Livingstone bestowed the Freedom of the City of London on the squad during the pause in Trafalgar Square.
After lunch, the players headed to Buckingham Palace where they posed for a team photo with the Queen. The 31 members of the winning squad, and coach Clive Woodward, grinned and cheered as the snapshot was taken with the Webb Ellis trophy perched on Martin Johnson's knee. Prince William took time out from his university studies to attend.
In the Palace Music Room, the players stood in a semi-circle in their grey suits as Johnson and Woodward stepped forward to show the Queen their trophy.
"I'm surprised it's all in one piece", the Queen told Johnson. "You've been carrying it around for several days. It's wonderful that you won."