The fourth and final Queen’s garden party took place at Buckingham Palace last week; it rained and the monarch had to meet her guests from beneath her signature clear umbrella. From the last week in June until that July 20 event, the Queen hosted three parties at her London home and another in Holyroodhouse Palace during her Scottish visit. Princess Anne also hosted a party for the Not Forgotten military association.
Each Buckingham Palace event saw eight thousand people converge on the palace grounds, some of whom brought binoculars to get a better peek at the monarch. Afternoon tea was served and guests enjoyed fancy little cakes, sandwiches without crusts, and a familiar beverage served in giant tents.
A rare few were chosen to have a few words with the Queen, who continued her tradition of wearing bright colors so that those who didn’t chat with her could at least pick the monarch out of the crowd. All cellphones were switched off and there was to be absolutely no tweeting and texting until after the fact, at which point there was probably quite a lot of both.
These event might have been light-hearted, but some of the conversation reportedly wasn’t. The Guardian said that at one point, the Queen remarked that banks needed to change their attitude. Meanwhile, others were fluttering about the recent phone hacking scandal which now counts the Queen and Prince Philip among its victims.
This year’s royal guests included the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Princess Alexandra and, for last week’s event, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.
If the current financial crisis continues, is there a possibility that the parties will not? The Guardian reports that last year’s garden party costs were £800,000, around £100,000 more than in the previous fiscal year. People eat too much, one aide reportedly grumbled in years gone by. The palace now tries to offset some of the costs by renting out the tents, but it’s still not enough.
So what’s next for the garden party circuit? Rationed fancy meals, perhaps, pre-arranged on fancy plates and exchanged for a ticket at the tent doors – or a hiatus, like the Queen’s Christmas party last year?
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Sources: Buckingham Palace; The Guardian; The Court Circular; Daily Mail
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