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5 things to know about a Buckingham Palace garden party

5 things to know about a Buckingham Palace garden party

Following a surprise Royal garden party invitation to an event we attended this past week, here’s what it’s like at a Buckingham Palace garden party…

If you’re invited, you’ll need to know:

Buckingham Palace garden party need to know

  1. When to arrive at the Queen’s garden party
  2. What to bring to a Buckingham Palace garden party
  3. What to wear to the Royal garden party
  4. What to eat for afternoon tea
  5. How to greet the Queen, the royals and make friends

 

 

We were so fortunate to get to attend the Queen’s Buckingham Palace garden party in May 2019. Thanks for all your kind messages on the blog and on Twitter. It’s a special privilege to be invited. We certainly had a lovely afternoon.

We were blessed with probably the best day of the year – sunshine and warm. No jacket or umbrellas required! But there’s preparatory work we’d recommend if you find yourself with a ticket to a Royal garden party.

 

When to arrive at the Queen’s garden party

We turned up at the time the ticket said the gates opened. That’s fine and we were inside the Buckingham Palace garden party within an hour, in time to see the Queen arrive.

However, getting there a bit early to be at the front of the entry line would have meant more time inside Buckingham Palace without the crowds.

The benefit of going in earlier might also mean getting in first for the food. Additionally, you may have a better chance to stand at the front of the line to see the Royal family when they emerge. I can’t guarantee you’ll meet them – that seems to be ‘pre-arranged’ – but a front row seat is always worth a shot.

So, if I had the chance at a Buckingham Palace garden party again, I’d be at the gate well before entry time.

 

What to bring to a Buckingham Palace garden party

There’s strict information on the ticket about what you can and can’t bring. It’s indicated that you can’t bring big cameras. I took this to mean DSLRs.

Phones are perfectly acceptable. Some people had smaller DSLR cameras though, including ones with zoom. Helpful if you want a close-up of the Royals or celebs (in a non-stalkery way, of course).

We have a camera that would have passed muster, but our phones were fine for photos.

In the event of rain at a Royal garden party, I’d advise taking as little as possible. I’m not sure there’s much cover except in the food tents which would get very crowded if the weather was bad. Apparently you can take umbrellas if you get unlucky with the English weather.

You’re on your feet for a good few hours, so avoid unnecessary jackets and extra items to carry around. It’s just easier that way.

 

What to wear to the Royal garden party (and ladies, tips on shoes)

Everyone is dressed up. A Buckingham Palace garden party is one occasion to plan for and go all out. We did, and I’m pleased we put some thought into it.

Plan for different types of weather – light jacket if it’s likely to be cold.

Hats and fascinators are the way to go. I had the chance to borrow a fabulous fascinator which had actually been to a Buckingham Palace garden party previously!

Shoes need special consideration, ladies. You need style and comfort. The grass can be squishy or wet. You’re on your feet for a long time too, both standing in the main garden party area and wandering around Buckingham Palace’s grounds. I wore mid block heels which were fine for a few hours, but started to cut near the end. I hadn’t taken flats for my commute home – definitely would if I had my time over.

View: behind the scenes – click ‘read more’ or the arrow top right to look at our photo story:

Queen's Garden Party

 

What to eat for afternoon tea

Everything!

There’s plenty of food – sandwiches, sweets, tea, iced coffee.

The lines at the beginning can be long so wait a while until it calms down. You won’t miss out. Our invitation read a little like the food starts to run out after about an hour. It certainly didn’t appear that way to us.

You can go back for seconds too (just ask Cooper). Don’t feel like you need to pile your plate so high you risk spillage. That would be embarrassing 😁

Queens Garden Party 2019 Kate and William

 

How to greet the Queen, the royals and make friends

Get lucky enough to shake hands with the Queen? Start with  ‘Your Majesty’, and subsequently ‘Ma’am’. Royal.uk offers a helpful guide on how to greet other members of the Royal family. Read more here

If you happen to speak to any of the royal family, stay away from personal questions.

We would have had a chat about how the Corgis must have loved playing around the palace grounds! 🐕

Of course, there’s thousands of others at the Queen’s garden party at Buckingham Palace. It’s easy to strike up a conversation with another interesting character who has received an invite. Start by asking if you can take a photo for someone, or accept their offer, and go from there. Don’t be shy – everyone’s in a happy frame of mind so you’re likely to make a new friend in the process.

Do you have other tips to share, or questions? Perhaps you have been to a Royal garden party at Buckingham Palace also? Drop us a line in the comments…

 

Royal garden party invitation to Buckingham Palace!

Royal garden party invitation to Buckingham Palace!

Things can happen unexpectedly. Little miracles, if you will – and that’s what I spotted this week when entirely out of the blue, I received an email inviting me to a Royal garden party in London in May! The Queen’s Garden Party, no less. I squealed (fortunately not aloud), and ran over to my colleague’s office from where the email had come.

‘Are you kidding, can I go to a Royal garden party?’ I squealed (this time).

Can you go?’ She smiled, ‘Are you free on the 21st?’

‘I’ll be free for the Queen, yup, absolutely!!!’

The Queen’s Garden party – are you kidding? I’m not going to pretend I don’t care about this – I love the Royals. We’ve been in London for the excitement that was William and Kate’s wedding and Harry and Meghan’s. We even covered that 2018 event for radio in Australia. It was divine!

A Royal garden party invitation - hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Copyright royal.com

Image courtesy royal.com

Royal Garden parties

Every year the Queen hosts three parties at Buckingham Palace and one in Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. These events are designed to recognise and reward public service.

Another truth, I’m a fan of Royal dramas – everything from The White Princess to The Tudors, Victoria and The Crown – count me in!

I’d spotted that Queen Victoria initiated a ‘breakfast’ (although also held in the afternoon, akin to the contemporary Royal garden party) in an effort to get more in touch with her people. Up until then as I understand it, most Royals kept themselves at quite a distance from, well, the rest of us.

With the world rapidly changing in the Victorian era (mid to late 1800s), the demand for our royalty to be more in touch with everyday life increased. And so the mingling began.

Events with the public have changed shape over the years though, and Queen Elizabeth’s summer garden parties as we know them today at Buckingham Palace have run since just after the second World War.

What to expect at a Royal Garden Party

Lots of people (thousands – like a very elegant festival!).

And a Royal garden party serves up loads of food. Think 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake. Included on the menu are many of the Queen’s favourite treats.

There’s royalty too. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh accompanied by other members of the Royal family speak to a range of people throughout the afternoon.

The dress code is strict – women wear a day dress and hat or fascinator and men wear a lounge suit (or ‘morning dress’).

There’s a nice Royal garden party round-up on the Royals’ webpage.

 

How to get on the invite list to a Royal or special event in London

While the Queen’s Garden Party is invite only and I was lucky to be randomly selected through work (I had no idea it was even possible to go to something like this!), I’ve discovered there are ways you can apply to try and get yourself on the guest list.

As we did for the beautiful Anzac Day memorial service in London (VERY special if you get the chance and are from Australia or New Zealand), you can apply to attend the Queen’s Garden Party via the Australian High Commission.

Do a quick Google for the authority that relates to you to see if there are any ties that give you the chance to apply in advance for an event like a Royal Garden Party with the Queen in summer at Buckingham Palace.

Be mindful of making the best of your opportunity though. I believe that you can only receive one invitation and/or only attend once. With demand being so high for such a special occasion, frequent chances to go along simply do not exist.

If you can’t make a Royal garden party though, you can tour Buckingham Palace. It’s usually open in the summer, and you can find out more by searching for it on Visit London’s website, among other sources.

We’ll report back in May on the event. Wish me luck … that I don’t trip over my feet or my words 😎

Update following the Garden Party

We had a wonderful time! View: video, photos and the 5 things to know about a Buckingham Palace garden party. We were also featured on Business Insider following the experience 👑

Royal garden party at Buckingham Palace featured image via Royal.uk