Queen cancels all royal garden parties for 2021

The Queen's garden parties are held every year at two royal palaces

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II attends a garden party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh
(Image credit: Photo by JANE BARLOW/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Queen's garden parties have reportedly been cancelled for this year, given the ongoing effects of the covid-19 pandemic. 

A number of garden parties are normally staged at Buckingham Palace, as well as the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. The news that these will not take place in 2021 comes after the announcement was made that England will enter its third lockdown. 

The new restrictions are currently expected to remain in place until mid-February. 

Why has the Queen cancelled garden parties for 2021? 

According to Hello! magazine, a palace spokesman has announced that: "The decision has been taken that garden parties will not take place in 2021". 

The Daily Mail reports that this decision has been taken after royal officials were facing difficulties when it came to planning the events given the new covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns being announced.

These are not the first significant royal events to have been cancelled in recent months. The Queen made history in December when she and Prince Philip decided to celebrate Christmas “quietly” at Windsor Castle for the first time in 33 years. This was after the traditional family gathering at Sandringham was also cancelled in light of the pandemic.

And whilst ordinarily the Queen’s birthday celebrations, Trooping the Colour, would be an impressive large-scale royal event, a smaller parade took place at Windsor Castle to mark her 94th birthday in 2020.

Why does the Queen host garden parties? 

The Queen’s garden parties act as a way of honouring and thanking members of the public who have gone above and beyond in serving charities and their local communities. They are also understood to be a way to offer thanks to members of the military and diplomatic communities. 

Some have claimed that the monarch welcomes more than 30,000 guests each year to enjoy a summer afternoon in the gardens of two royal palaces. 

Each year the Queen’s garden parties are held both in London and Edinburgh, with three being hosted at Buckingham Palace and one at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. 

Queen Elizabeth II hosts a garden party at The Palace Of Holyroodhouse on July 3, 2019 in Edinburgh, Scotland

(Image credit: Photo by Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The announcement this year allegedly marks only the second time in the 94-year-old monarch’s reign that these public events have been cancelled.

The Queen and Prince Philip are understood to have remained at Windsor Castle where they spent Christmas. Yesterday the Queen’s message to mark the 75th year of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour was read out to listeners. It has also been reported that the royals carried out half their public engagements last year via video call.

With England now in its third lockdown, it seems likely that the Queen will continue to carry out some royal engagements via video call this year. 

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with seven years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.