I oddly felt a little nervous getting ready this morning. There was no such reason for nerves because if you go to a garden party you, like D and I, will not get anywhere near the Queen or the royal family.
We arrived before 3:00 pm when the doors were opening and joined the queue. Ok actually, we jumped the queue unintentionally which meant that we waited maybe 10 minutes before clearing security and then proceeding into the palace. It is lush in there.
We quickly passed through the palace into the garden. Looking out across the massive grounds all I could see were throngs of hats and fascinators, the next bigger and more outrageous than the last. I wish I had my camera to capture those alone.
The agenda was very much only guidance as the timing was not well maintained. D and I walked the grounds, taking in the garden and pond. I did take a few pictures discreetly since we were allowed mobile phones, but they were supposed to be turned off.
Tea was served on time but as we reached the front of the queue the time had come for the Royals to make their entrance. The band stopped playing, followed by a long silence then hushed voices asking ‘is she here?’. The anthem started and then the Queen appeared on the steps leading to the garden. After the anthem it was difficult to know exactly what was happening. I guess there was some type of presentation but the sheer amount of people present blocked any view.
After taking our afternoon tea (some of the cakes had crowns on them) we headed to the Royal Tea tent as a large crowd gathered. It felt weird waiting for the Queen to appear to have tea. Seriously, like those old school human zoos. But we did gather and once she emerged from the large crowd and walked up to the tent everyone clapped. Then Prince Phillip, more clapping, and after that a couple of other people I couldn’t make out.
Throughout the afternoon there was a band playing which was really nice. We also sat out by the pond for a bit taking in the sun. We lucked out with gorgeous sunny weather. After seeing the Queen there was no reason to stick around. So we left early which was preferable to waiting until the very end and hustling out with everyone else. All together a great day.
So how did I get invited? Well, I am a member of a Canadian Expats in London group on Meet Up.com. I got an email advertising the garden parties and I applied. Luck of the draw and I was chosen to attend. These parties happen every year so apply through your embassy and you may find yourself at one in the future.