Thursday, July 29, 2010

Queen's Garden Party

I promised you in my last post some more about the annual Queen's Garden Party. I hope I did not give you false hope that I was one of the lucky invitees this year, but I do know someone who went, does that  count? Each summer, the Queen hosts three garden parties in London, and one in Edinburgh.

About 8,000 guests attend each one, thus the long lines that you see in these photos as they wrapped around the grounds of the palace. Various national organizations are given the opportunity to submit the names of people who have made contributions in their walks of life. It thus becomes a way to honor the achievements of a large cross section of the community.

The garden parties last from 4-6 in the afternoon, and begin when the queen arrives at 4 with the band marking her official arrival. She is accompanied at each party by other members of the royal family. Tea, coffee, juice, sandwiches and cakes are served, and I hear from an inside source that little ice creams were also served late in the afternoon.

What to wear, you wonder, should your invitation arrive on your doorstep? Ladies usually are in afternoon dress,

while gentleman wear "morning dress or lounge suits."

 Morning dress would require a tailcoat, a waist coat (vest), and often striped trousers, while lounge suits (not to be confused with leisure suits) would indicate a suit and tie. Top hats are often worn with morning dress.

Most ladies would choose to wear a hat or a fascinator, which is a delicate head ornament, such as the one above, that  might have feathers, flowers or beads on it.  I thought this one was quite interesting, because it was hard to tell where the feathers stopped and where the hair started. Imagine how distracting that would be to the queen when she looked you in the eye!

Not all gentleman wore pants however, some preferring a looser fit.

Security is tight, as you can imagine--no party crashers allowed here,

and I think they're pretty serious about you coming in only through the front door!

Here's a short video that the Royals have made so that we commoners will know what we can expect, when and if that illusive invitation arrives on our own doorstep. Sigh.... Maybe next year! 
A second click will enable you to watch in on YouTube. Enjoy!


  1. Thanks for that lovely treat - after watching the video I almost feel like I've been to the garden party.
    My!! don't they dress up and the gentlemen in their top hats are so regal.
    Lovely post.
    Dianne xx

  2. Loved the hot pink jacket by the man in a kilt. Was that on a man or a woman? Couldn't tell since the picture was taken from behind the people. Interesting!!!

  3. My beer-in-the-back-yard with hot dogs doesn't seem quite the same - next soiree I'll where a hat.

    Really is an interesting post, and you can imagine how much this afternoon means to those attending.

    The lady with the hair-to-match feathers? I think they were left over from Camilla's wedding attire.

  4. I would love to be invited to one of Her Majesty's parties one day! How elegant and refined everyone looks.

    The weather looks quite lovely too...has it been this nice all summer?

    Thanks for this beautifully British post!

    Best wishes for a wonderful weekend,

  5. You totally should have received an invitation for being a great Blog Ambassador for England... I would have nominated you had I known! You always make it sound fabulous, and I never hear you complain... well... there was that one post about their washer/dryers.... (:0 LOL.

  6. what a fun glimpse into the queen's tea! i loved
    all the hats, especially the nest. :)

    no one does tea like londoners!

  7. Debi, my email connector isn't working yet, so I am leaving this tid bit for you here. You may well be aware of this (I was not - my daughter just told me). Starz (ref: The Pillars of the Earth) can be seen on the computer through the hulu site.
    Right now they are only carrying clips from the series, but when the series is over, there is a chance you will be able to watch entire episodes.
    I am told that hulu often shows programs that are on other Pay for stations - just later after the premier airing. But maybe someone with Starz will download it and you will not have to wait.

  8. Thank you, thank you for this marvelous tour, Debi! Something I would never have seen. And yes, it counts that you know someone who went! What a treat! – g

  9. Shoot! I thought you were invited and could get me in so I have been sitting here all dressed up, waiting! I see through our pictures however, that I was overdressed for the occasion (glittery low-cut gown) so it's all for the best.

  10. My sister and I found some beautifully adorned headbands at Buffalo Exchange. If the queen would just INVITE me to her little shindigs, I'd be happy to purchase the pretty headwear...