These garden parties that are fit for a queen

Royal Correspondent Shirley Tart has been to several garden parties. She explains why they remain a magical experience – even in the rain

The Queen greets guests at the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday
The Queen greets guests at the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday

As the clouds gathered again and clouds watered the famous gardens once more, guests were not deterred.

They carried on with conversations, admiration for their surrounds and waves of laughter and applause for their Queen.

She, in turn never wavered – just as she never has through all of her 93 years.

Her guests came first, they were going to enjoy a good afternoon. And my goodness, we did.

In that deep pink attire she loves so well, Her Majesty led a regular battalion of royals from Buckingham Palace to the gardens she loves even more.

For this was the third and final Buckingham Palace Garden Party to take place this year and what a very special host we had when around 8,000 of us gathered to greet her.

What’s more, this was the continuation of the gala day for this hard working, committed Queen of ours. Because as Head of the Commonwealth, she and grandson Harry, the Duke of Sussex who is Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, had already met the ICC World Cup team captains ahead of their opening party on the Mall before the cricketing tournament featuring the world’s top ten teams.

And it would have been an extra treat of course for cricketing fans to spot a top player among the rest of us. But with their busy programme, they felt unable to join the umbrella party.

Let’s hope it doesn’t rain on their parade too often during the big tournament. And we still had the military bands.

As she arrived to start the Garden Party proper, the Queen was again accompanied by attentive grandson Harry who carefully saw that his grandmother was safely en route for the celebrations – though in truth she needs very little support even after all these years of representing us here and across the world.

Also in attendance were the York Princesses who are always popular at these gatherings as they chat at length to visitors, while the Kents, the Gloucesters and other members of this busy royal family were playing their own stalwart part. Where? Well at the party, naturally!

And those ‘lanes’ of people, created by us, which mean the Queen in particular can have easy access to as many of those with a precious invitation to a very special occasion, are great. Happily, the royal tea tent eventually comes into view ready for a bit of foot resting and a particularly fine tea.

Her Majesty wore her favoured colour of deep pink

When you remember that this guest list has so many invitees, the quality of what’s on offer and the way everything is presented and served as well as being cared for (us that is) by such attentive and helpful young waiters and waitresses, is honestly superb .... and blow the weather. It was just a bit sad to see the many rows of green chairs huddling under banks of trees instead of being set out on the royal acres for guests to relax and enjoy.

Yet oddly enough, that is exactly what they did – enjoy! Those with another layer of clothing in their bags put them on, the rest showed that stiff upper lip at which we’re so good, and the umbrella gang displayed monstrously good style with every colour under the rainbow jostling for space.

Come to think of it, the whole affair was rather like a rainbow anyway. Many reasons for being at the party at all, and each one both personal and special.

These are largely the great contributors in big and small ways of thousands at a time who to be honest, do so much towards keeping Britain going.

Lord Lieutenants, successful organisations, the Armed Services, charities and many societies, those who simply try their best might qualify.

Shropshire’s Selena Graham is one such example. She and her guest Claire Machin were the first two tea party goers I met even before we had left the station and so we all travelled down together.

Both ladies have a strong link to little Barrow School near Broseley and this year, the school hosted the Princess Royal who led a very successful day of celebration for their achievements. And Selena, an estate manager, and who supports many charities and causes, is currently one of those applauded for the magnificent efforts at the new Cavalier riding centre for the disabled near Much Wenlock and for very much more.

It is always an honour to be at a palace party. An even greater one to salute those who do so much for so many in our land. Well done, folks.

And so very well done again, Your Majesty.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News