Her Majesty The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Beatrice kicked off the summer on Wednesday with the first Buckingham Palace garden party of the season.
Just after Princess Beatrice and The Queen were seen at the RHS Chelsea Flower show, she joined her grandparents in welcoming hundreds of guests to the back garden of Buckingham Palace.
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh arrived at the same time to a warm welcome from the guests, though The Duke did prompt concern after his recent surgery on his right hand. Nevertheless Philip looked on good form as he mingled with the guests and Princess Beatrice charmed the crowds at the exclusive, yet informal party.
— BritishMonarchy (@BritishMonarchy) May 22, 2014
Guests started lining up at the gates of Buckingham Palace at around 3pm; once inside they were invited to feast on a magnificent spread of garden party food, such as finger sandwiches, slices of fruit cake and strawberry tart. At a typical garden party around 270,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake are consumed. The tea is a special blend called Buckingham Palace Garden Party Tea. Throughout yesterday’s festivities two military bands played, starting of course with the rousing sound of the national anthem to kick-start the celebration.
Attendees at the Garden Party have usually contributed to society or charities in some way, and yesterday were given an extra special treat, the chance to explore the gardens of Buckingham Palace which are usually closed to the general public. Not only this, but typical British summertime weather didn’t make an appearance yesterday, the sun shone all day for the 10,000 guests.
— Chloe Cambridge (@RoyalsWithChloe) May 22, 2014
Garden parties have been held at Buckingham Palace since the 1860’s when Queen Victoria instituted what were known as ‘breakfasts’, although they took place in the afternoon. In the 1950’s, the number of garden parties held at Buckingham Palace was increased from 2 to 3, they took the place of presentation parties attended by debutantes but have evolved in to recognising the attributes of people from all walks of life.
The Queen’s garden parties are considered a highlight of the British social calendar with around 10,000 people expected at each one. Her Majesty hosts at least three at Buckingham Palace, and one at her Scottish residence Holyrood House.
The next garden party of the season will take place at Buckingham Palace on 3rd June.