The Queen welcomed summer with her first garden party of the season at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday. Dressed in a lilac coat and matching hat, the reigning monarch, 88, was all smiles as she welcomed members of the public into her London residence. In keeping with tradition, other British royals accompanied the Queen to her outdoor bash, including her husband Prince Philip and her granddaughter Princess Beatrice.
The Queen and Prince Philip
Arriving at the same time, Her Majesty and Prince Philip, 92, were given a warm welcome to the party, with the Duke of Edinburgh prompting concern about his hand injury. Nevertheless, the Prince, who had undergone a minor medical procedure on his right hand the day before and wore a bandage, looked on good form as he mingled with guests. Stylish Princess Beatrice was the epitome of daytime chic, wearing a cream blouse tucked into a high-waisted skirt that featured a pretty floral pattern. The 25-year-old topped off her look with a beige fascinator and charmed crowds who had been invited to this exclusive, yet informal, gathering.
Guests had started lining up outside Buckingham Palace at around 3pm. Once inside, they were invited to feast on the gorgeous spread of garden-party food, such as finger sandwiches, slices of fruit cake and strawberry tarts. At a typical garden party organised by the Queen, around 270,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake are consumed, with a special tea blend called "Buckingham Palace Garden Party Tea" prepared. Two military bands also played alternately throughout the festivity, starting with the rousing sound of the national anthem to kick-start the summer celebration.
The Queen makes her grand entrance
Attendees, who have usually contributed to society or charities in a particular way, were also invited to explore the gardens which are not normally open to the general public. The weather held out for the lucky invitees as they grabbed the opportunity to stroll around in the sunshine. The Queen's garden parties are considered a highlight of the British social calendar, with a select guest list of around 10,000 people expected at each one. Her Majesty hosts at least three at Buckingham Palace each year and one at her Scottish residence Holyrood House. The tradition of having a garden party at the palace has been around since the 1860s.