It’s been given the royal seal of approval by the Queen herself – Prince Harry will be hosting his first ever garden party.
The Not Forgotten Association Garden Party will take place on 30 May this year and will offer entertainment and recreation for wounded, injured and sick military personal or veterans. This event is usually hosted by the Patron of the organisation, Princess Anne.
Garden parties at the Palace are usually hosted by the Queen and are regarded as a great opportunity for Her Majesty to meet and speak with a diverse group of people. This year, however, the Queen has given permission for three extra garden parties to take place.
(The Queen meeting guests the 2015 Garden Party)
Harry will also be hosting Party in the Palace on May 13, which will be jointly hosted with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, to honour the children of those who have died serving in the armed forces. Guests will enjoy face painting, arts and crafts session, science experiments and try out circus skills. They will also be treated to a special display from the RAF Falcons parachute team.
The Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry hope the event will “provide an opportunity for these children to broaden their support networks amongst other families with similar experiences”. This comes at a time when the prince’s have been incredibly open about their struggle following the death of their mother Princess Diana.
The final special garden party will be hosted by the Duke of York on 25 May. He will be joined by daughter Princess Eugenie to mark 100 years of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
The Queen’s garden parties typically see over 30,000 guests join her for a relaxed afternoon in the splendid gardens of Buckingham Palace. At each garden party a whopping 27,000 cups of tea are thought to be served alongside 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake.
What’s a typical day at the Queen’s Garden Party?
Gates for the palace open at 3pm on the day of the garden party, however the event does not officially begin until the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrive at 4pm. Other members of the royal family also accompany them. The National Anthem is played by one of the two military bands present as the royals arrive.
The Queen and Prince Philip then mingle among the guests. They each take a different route so that everyone has an equal chance to speak with them. The Queen will then head over to the Royal Tea Tent where she will meet more guests. All guests are free to eat, drink and wonder around the stunning Palace gardens.
A new approach?
Could the thee special garden parties this year be a sign that the Queen is interested to take on less royal duties? Although the Queen will still be hosting her usual garden parties, the three new ones could be a way of her testing to see how the other royals handle the events.
The Queen has given permission for additional garden parties in the past. She allowed one to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme in 2006 and in 2015 there were garden parties to celebrate the Centenary of the Women’s Institute and Blind Veterans UK.
It is thought that the Duke of Edinburgh will attend the regular garden parties in London and Edinburgh ahead of his retirement from public duties in autumn.