My husband and I were lucky enough be invited once more to Buckingham Palace. We still can’t believe it; visiting this magnificent Royal residence twice in one year, and the Diamond Jubilee year at that! Yesterday was the Queen’s Garden Party, and on a hot afternoon we approached Buckingham Palace Rd amidst swarms of other party revelers anticipating a memorable occasion. The attire of both female and male guests was outstanding, from vibrant colourful dresses to Jane Austen lookalikes , and the men wearing tails and top hats were by far the greatest head turners!
Eight thousand guests mingled around until 4pm when the National Anthem alerted us all that the Queen was present in the garden, and would be walking amongst us soon. The numerous Lord Lieutenants encouraged some of the masses to form a passage for the Royal family members to walk through, and to allow them enough space to talk to the chosen few.
We were in a prime position at the edge of the line, and had a close up view of the Queen in a beautiful lilac outfit chatting cheerily to a lucky family. My mind was racing as I watched her, I thought of her mother, my mum and all the years that had passed under her Reign. I was delighted; she was just as I imagined, petite and fragile looking (though in relation to the latter of course she is not).
Queen Elizabeth looked glorious.
The refreshments were perfect, cucumber and mint sandwiches in true English
style, iced coffee and cream scones helped us to feel that we were indeed at a Royal event.
I did feel rather excited to learn that Kate was with us, and that it was her very first Garden Party. Through the throngs we eventually found her beaming a smile that lit up the faces of those she talked to. In fact the smile never stopped. Kate looked radiant and happy.
And then I met Alice. Alice was in a wheelchair and was next to me in the line up to see Prince Charles, and I picked up on her carer’s Yorkshire accent immediately. I bent down to talk to Alice whilst we waited, and soon learned she was profoundly deaf and her mind was beginning to fade. Not surprising, as Alice will be 108 years this July. Georgina, her carer, informed me they had been writing for years to ask come to a Garden Party, as Alice wanted to see ‘Princess Elizabeth’ before she died. And so as Charles advanced quickly towards us I mentioned to one of the officials some of the details I had just learned. Luckily, he responded and planned to direct Charles to Alice as he passed….which he did. Prince Charles bent to speak to her…well, to shout! Alice asked him if he ‘was OK’ and she seemed to take it all in her stride. When Charles moved on, Georgina and I asked her if she knew who the man was. ‘No?’ she replied….’Oh, was it the King?’
Meeting Alice made my day. I am just sorry I didn’t snap a photograph of her for my memory, and sorry her family didn’t share this special moment with her.
Photos (some) courtesy of The Mail Online