Going to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party!

First of all, let me just tell you that the whole day was a complete WOW and next to my Wedding Day and buying my house, then it’s the most amazing thing that I have ever done. Let me talk you through it.

Firstly, there was my invitation..

So this is VERY exciting! I think my mum would have been very proud! @princestrust #partofpt

A photo posted by Gill Lysons ? (@gilliblogs) on

I think this was beautiful and I am definitely going to have it framed. The garden party was hosted by Prince Charles to help celebrate 40 years of The Prince’s Trust. The dress code was very clearly set out in a guidance booklet which came with the invite. It went something like this:

Men: Lounge Suites
Ladies: Day dresses. No strapless. Nothing above the knee. All straps must be at least 1″ wide. Hats/Fascinators optional with a recommendation for flat or wedge heel shoes as we would have a “long day on our feet”.

We we were also told in the guidance that we would need both photo ID and another address form of ID in case the police needed to see it. As it turned out, on the gate, the police just checked my admittance card and my photo ID. Note: Oh yes, the invitation was for me to keep and I actually also got another admittance card which I handed in on entrance. Ace.

We were told that the timeline was as follows:

  • 2:00pm – Guests could start to queue up
  • 3:00pm – The garden party would start and guests would be admitted
  • 3:30pm –  Afternoon Tea would be served
  • 4:00pm – HRH The Prince of Wales would arrive and greet guests
  • 5:30pm – HRH would depart
  • 6:00pm – The National Anthem would play and the garden party would be over.

I have to say that it ran almost to time, with the slight exception that HRH was still in the Tea tent at gone 6!

Anyway, before that I wanted to share with you some highlights. As we went through the gates I spotted Neil, one of our volunteers taking a picture of his wife in the space between the famous front gates and the palace itself. I asked him if he wanted me to take a picture of both of them. As I took his phone, a lovely police women with a very large machine gun walked up to me shaking her head. She didn’t say a word, but just glared at me. I said meekly “no photos?” she again she shook her head at me. I apologised profusely but did laugh to myself as I gave Neil his phone back!

As we walked through the main centre arch at the front of Buckingham Palace, I found myself in a huge rectangular courtyard which I have seen SO many times on the TV. It’s the place from where Princess Diana got into her carriage to get married in 1981, where Queen Elizabeth II has greeted 12 Prime Ministers and also Michelle and Barack Obama when they visited and guess what.. .I walked up those exact steps where over the years dignitaries, heads of state, Kings, Queens and all manor of world figures have stood! I only WISH I had a photo, but after the run in with AK47, I thought best not to… but that would change soon enough..

The whole afternoon was filled with hugs and happy faces as all the guests where either staff, PT volunteers, some PT young ambassador and the of course many many many Celebrity Ambassadors!! Some of which I will name for you now:

  • Damian Lewis
  • Helen McCrory
  • Fearne cotton
  • Ronnie wood
  • Phillip Schofield
  • Holly Willoby
  • Rio Ferdinand
  • Jermaine Dafoe
  • Felicity Kendal
  • Jerry hall
  • Rupert Murdoch
  • Tony Hadley
  • Brian May
  • Joan Collins
  • Ben Kingsley
  • Simon Rimmer
  • Julie Etchingham
  • John Culshaw
  • Pixie Lott
  • Cerys Matthews
  • Alison hammond for ‘This Morning’
  • Martin Clunes
  • Geri Halliwell
  • Emma Bunton

My head was literally on a swivel the whole afternoon as I kept spotting people from work who I knew and then intermingled with us “normals” there were people off the telly! It was like celebrity bingo! Cue the sneaky pic of Damien Lewis from Homeland!

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Of course there was afternoon tea, which came in the form of a HUGE tea tent for which we (in the most British way possible) queued up for. We then had a choice of the most delicate finger sandwiches (ham & tomato, cream cheese & smoked salmon) and then an array of petit four.

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I picked 2 x ham sandwiches, carrot cake, Battenberg and fruit cake. ALL DELICIOUS!!!!! I had water first and then went back for Buckingham Palace tea. I mean….. how could I not?? I can confirm too, that even the tea was divine.

When HRH came out at 4pm, there were some lovely suited gentleman that sort of marshalled the guests into a tunnel and The Prince walked down the cleared area talking to some pre-selected guest and then he started to break ranks and talk to the people who, by this time, were snapping photos left, right and centre!  He did of course have his “close protection” making a semi-circle around him, but even they were fairly unobtrusive. I did get fairly close to him, even if I didn’t get to shake his hand, and he seemed just charming. img_0697

After he had greeted everyone, he took HIS afternoon tea in the Royal Tea tent and he was then joined by all the VIPs until his exit after 6:00pm. When he was hobnobbing, the two ladies I was with and I went for a walk around the palace gardens. I have seen some of them before when I visited the palace in maybe 2011 when M & I did paid tour. Even so, they were still stunning and I felt like I was in the middle of a part of history.

We stayed until 6:10pm waiting for HRH to exit the tea tent, but there was no sign. I had a train to catch and so we unfortunately we had to leave before he did re-appear – but to be honest, we were done in!

Finally, I know what you are thinking… what did you wear… well here you go:

Also, its worth noting that M treated me to a 1st class train ticket for the journey back and it was BRILL!!! Loads more room, free dinner and drinks and definitely a lovely way to end the day.

I loved it and was proud of myself for working for such a worthwhile charity. I am a lucky girl and this is a day I will never forget.

G x

 

 

 

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