Buckingham Palace Garden Party

Name of walk Buckingham Palace Garden Party
Date of walk 2015-05-28

On Thursday morning Brendan and I caught the train to London as we had been invited to a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. There is a strict dress code, and for women, unfortunately, it includes a hat. Bugger! I borrowed a ‘fascinator’ from Anne, a fellow bell ringer. Thankfully, anything that is attached to the top of your head is called a ‘hat’ and as it was small, dark and almost invisible to the naked eye, it would do the job quite nicely! The information also told us that photography was prohibited in the Palace and gardens and that camera-equipped mobiles must be switched off. So being a conscientious rule follower, I left my camera at home, but took my mobile phone. I have never really used the camera on the phone before, but I would give it a go on some of the sights on our way to the Palace and we would take some photos of ourselves before we went in. We had a few hours to spare so we decided to take the Tube to Embankment and walk to the Palace via St. James’ Park, getting lunch on the way. The day was blue skies and sunshine. One of the things I miss most about living in London is the 10 degree rise in temperature compared to Cumbria, sometimes I even forget what a warm day is like!


The invitation.


The Millennium wheel from the Embankment.


We cross over Westminster Bridge. Houses of Parliament.


We walk towards Lambeth Bridge passing Lambeth Palace on the left, the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury.


We walk along the roads behind Westminster Abbey and came across a shop sign you don't see very often! One for you Father John! Hey, maybe they even do 'buy one get one free' deals? ;-)


The shop in question which could, no doubt, provide hours of fun. We had lunch in a pub near the Abbey.


Westminster Abbey.


We then head for St. James' Park. As an undergraduate in the early 80's I spent hours in St. James' Park, as one of my dissertations was a photographic study of the diversity of the Anatidae (ducks 'n geese). The park doesn't appear to have as many species now. The pelicans are still here too, lining up to get their photos taken.


The cute cottage is still in the park.


Horse Guards Parade.


View from the lake bridge towards Buckingham Palace.


View back to the Millennium Wheel. (Hat is in the small carrier bag)


Brendan has the ear of royalty!


Buckingham Palace.


We get a photo of the two of us together.


The queues had already started to form.



Thankfully the fascinator hat is barely visible. Brendan keeps commenting that I seem to have a 'dead mouse' in my hair.


We join the back of the queue to go through security. There are two other ways in, but going in the front means that we get to walk through two palace rooms and out to the back garden.


The queue.


They check our two photo ID's against our invites and then we are through the gates.


The inner courtyard.


We take what we think will be our last photo. We pass through two rooms one with numerous pieces of artwork on the walls. We are then stopped on the steps out to the terrace to make way for the Yeoman of the Guard. They parade in front of us, turn and make their way down the west terrace steps into the garden. They are carrying huge spears and have to lower them slightly as they come to the steps so not to cut through the canopy above. People have cameras and phones out and are taking photos. At this point I am still reluctant to break the rules.


Afternoon tea is taken in the Main Tea Tent. When the Royal Family arrives they will take theirs in the Royal Tea Tent, next to this is the Diplomatic Tea Tent. Tea is sandwiches and cakes, all very nice. I have mine with iced coffee. We see Bishop James Newcome, the Bishop of Carlisle, all dressed in the red of the Queens's Chaplains. It is only a fortnight since I met him again with the Archbishop of York for the 'Believe in Barrow' celebrations. There are bishops and clergy everywhere. We watch the Queen and Prince Philip arrive and make their way to the Tea Tent. As everyone else is taking photos, I get my phone out and take a few too, not of royalty, staff or other prominent guests, but of the buildings and grounds.


One of the two military bands with the Tea Tent behind.


Once the royals had entered the Tea Tent we had a walk around the extensive gardens and lake.


View across the lake back to the Tea Tents and Palace.



Even the Queen has to put up with cranes and building work spoiling her garden view.


A garden bird sculpture.



We have a wander across the lawns.


The side of the palace.




A wicker corgi seen through the windows of the summer house.


Now that is what I call a big pot!


The Rose Garden.


Brendan admiring some of the roses that were in flower.


The Royal Tea Tent on the left and the Diplomatic tent on the right. We watch the Queen and Price Philip depart. Standing next to me while I was watching this was Douglas Hurd, he's very tall.


The crowd begins to depart too.



The band keeps playing.


We watch Prince and Princess Michael of Kent chat to some of the wheelchair users before exiting around the side of the Palace back towards the main gates.



The guys in the top hats are the gentleman ushers.


We take a couple more photos before heading out the gates in the direction of Green Park.


An excellent day, but I wish I had brought my camera, mobiles are not great for photography. Well, that will teach Miss Goody Two Shoes to do as she is told! I probably could have got away with not wearing a hat as well….@&7%! 🙂