British jazz prodigy Jamie Cullum was thrilled to be invited to play British royal Queen Elizabeth II's golden piano - but had to jettison the impromptu performance because the antique was in such bad condition.

The 25-year-old singer was attending Buckingham Palace for a glittering gala in honour of illustrious members of the music scene, and was amazed when he was approached by Prince Philip, DUKE OF EDINBURGH to try out the ancient instrument.

A fellow guest says, "The Duke of Edinburgh went up to him and PAUL GAMBACCINI, the radio presenter, and pointing at the gold, early 19th century piano, said, 'Why don't you play something on that, it hasn't been used for years?'

"Gambaccini played a bit from memory of Grieg - SAILOR'S SONG - and then Jamie took over and did DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES.

"After a few bars he leaned over and said to Gambaccini: 'The damper pedal doesn't work.' "

15/05/2005 13:57