Garden Party hosted by the Queen

One of the most enduring traditions, and the highlight of the summer season, of the British royal family is the Garden Party hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace which normally takes place around June and July.   This royal tradition started during the reign of Queen Victoria of England in the 19th century.

According to the official site of the British monarchy, a Garden Party, which is commonly called AFTERNOON TEA PARTY takes place between 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm as the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and members of the royal family enter the gate when the National Anthem, God Save the Queen, is played by military bands. Then the royals circulate among the guests to greet them.

Tea and other refreshments are served in buffet tables on enormous quantities. Usually the palace served 27,000 tea cups, 20,000 sandwiches and slices of tea cakes for 8,000 guests. This party aims to celebrate the achievements of people who have contributed to public life. The selection process on who are the people to be invited for the Queen's Garden Parties is usually done through a recommendation of a variety of national organizations, charities and local lord lieutenants.

There's always a dress code when attending a party hosted by the Queen. Ladies are required to wear hats/fascinators and their best afternoon dress while gentlemen wear morning or lounge suits. The Queen dons fabulous outfit for the occasion.

The planning and invitations are done through the office of the Lord Chamberlain, the head of the Royal Household of the ruling monarch.

According to the daily mail, last year (2011), the palace served tea, iced coffee, organic apple juice, cucumber and egg mayonnaise sandwiches, mini strawberry scones, coffee eclairs, tiny chocolate mousse cakes embossed with a gold crown.

Normally, the attendees and even the royal family would not sit for this party and would just stand and walk around to greet one another.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh
The first Garden Party attended by the Duchess of Cambridge

Garden Parties' set-up is taken from the Afternoon Tea Party, an English tradition that originated during the Victorian Era.

The Queen ensures she mingles with all her guests, speak to them and greet them with their achievements. The party ends up at 6:00 pm with the royal family leave the garden and the national anthem is played again to mark the end of the party.

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